LOCAL businesses in the Dumfries and Galloway area have praised Banks Renewables for its plans to direct a significant share of the estimated £32 million build cost of its proposed Knockendurrick Wind Farm to local companies.
The Hamilton-based company recently submitted plans for a seven turbine wind farm, to Dumfries and Galloway Council and as part of this will agree to commit 15-20 per cent of the total construction cost to be spent on contracts with local firms, creating meaningful employment opportunities for local people.
This means that if the 23.8MW scheme is approved, the local economy could be boosted by between £5 million and £6 million during construction, also creating extra jobs for the area.
During the construction of the wind farm, contracts will be required for construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fabrication, aggregates, utilities, professional services, hospitality and many more.
In order to engage with local businesses in the area, Banks Renewables recently held a series of ‘Meet the Buyer’ events, as part of public exhibitions which took place over three days in August and were well attended by 104 local people.
The ‘Meet the Buyer’ events were designed to guide local firms through the Banks Renewables procurement processes, registering their interest and supporting them in pre-qualifying for tender lists.
One such local business which could benefit from these construction contracts is Barr Ltd, which operates Tongland Quarry, employing ten workers from the local area. The quarry could provide ready mixed concrete as well as contribute to any drainage materials required during the construction of the wind farm.
Keith Patterson, at Barr Ltd, said: “The event was a great opportunity for us to find out everything we needed to know about the wind farm – the guys at Banks Renewables really got it spot on and were there to answer any questions we had.
“Its commitment to using local firms, during the construction is great news and as a company we are of the belief that developers should use local labour wherever possible, as it helps make a valuable contribution to the local economy.
“We look forward to hearing more about the tender process and the potential opportunity to work with Banks Renewables, if the wind farm is approved.”
Banks recently announced the major appointment of local firm Natural Power as a key delivery partner in the project. The Castle Douglas based firm is providing support across a range of disciplines including engineering, geo-environmental, wind yield, planning, transportation and socio-economics.
Emily Peaston, senior project development manager at Natural Power, said: “Across our multi-disciplinary departments, we have worked with Banks Renewables on several other projects across the UK.
“Knockendurrick is very much our own back yard and gives us an opportunity to demonstrate within our local community the principles we believe in. Our aim is always to try and deliver projects we think are credible, well designed and environmentally sound.”
Banks Renewables is also in discussions with Dumfries and Galloway Council to deliver a targeted employment and training initiative, which it proposes to deliver as a specific commitment of the planning application for the Knockendurrick Wind Farm.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “We have a strong commitment to supporting local communities in the development of our wind farms. Spending money locally and using local firms that employ local people are very important parts of fulfilling our commitment.
“We would urge all firms in the Dumfries and Galloway area to get in touch with us to find out more about the role they could play in developing this wind farm. Working together in partnership with local businesses, we can maximise the economic benefits that can result from the development of the Knockendurrick Wind Farm.”
Full details of the Knockendurrick proposals can be found on the dedicated project web site, http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/knockendurrick.
Banks Renewables has extensive experience of working in partnership with local communities across Scotland and the United Kingdom to successfully design and develop new energy schemes and deliver a range of local economic, social and environmental benefits, tailored to their individual community needs.
Equivalent projects by the firm have resulted in the creation of jobs and training initiatives, provision of community infrastructure, delivery of major environmental projects and direct funding into community groups.
The Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk) is a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs 420 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors. The company’s ‘development with care’ approach underpins all community consultation and seeks to deliver environmental excellence in all areas of our business.
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