MORE than 100 people attended public exhibitions where they were able to view plans and ask questions about a proposed wind farm located approximately 3km from Bonchester Bridge.
Staff at Banks Renewables were pleased with the turnout at a series of public exhibitions detailing its proposals for a 15-turbine development at Birneyknowe Wind Farm, near Hawick.
The plans were laid out at three venues around the site and 57 people turned out to the Bonchester Bridge public exhibition, there were 21 attendees in Hawick Rugby Club and 32 attended Denholm Village Hall.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We were very pleased to see local people attending our public exhibitions and encouraged to see them take such an interest in their local area.
“Overall feedback was positive with locals eager to find out more about the benefits that the wind farm would provide. Those include the Banks local community energy contribution scheme, and our learning, working, earning scheme, the Birneyknowe community fund and the opportunities for local businesses to become part of the supply chain.
“We had representatives from all key disciplines so that even the most specific questions could be answered by an expert in the field and we are now assessing the feedback forms received over the three days.”
After an extensive two year period of public consultation, where local people’s views have helped to shape the design of the site, the exhibitions were a chance for Banks Renewables to showcases its final proposals.
The proposed wind farm would generate up to 60MW of energy and the plans will be submitted to the Scottish Energy Consents Unit later this month.
During the exhibitions, Representatives from the Banks team were on hand to discuss the opportunities the scheme could yield – including contributing to a community fund of up to £300,000 per year.
Revenues generated by the wind farm could also support an innovative new apprenticeship training scheme for the area. During the construction of the wind farm, a variety of contracts will be required, with local firms being encouraged to tender for work ranging from construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fabrication, aggregates, utilities, professional services, hospitality and many more
Phil added: “We have listened and responded at every stage of the process and are confident we have come up with the best possible design for the site, which is sympathetic to the environment, while delivering real, long-term benefits to the local community.
“During our consultations the local community were keen to see mechanism which allowed the proposed wind farm to make a direct contribution towards individual fuel bills. This has been achieved, and the initial feedback is very positive
“We are now looking forward to submitting our final plans and steering our proposals through the full planning process.”
Equivalent projects by Banks Renewables 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.
For more information about the Birneyknowe Wind Farm visit http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/birneyknowe.
Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs over 400 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.
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