Wind farm company attends Parish Council meeting

Banks Renewables are seeking planning permission for four wind turbines to be installed near Hamsterley

Banks Renewables are seeking planning permission for four wind turbines to be installed near Hamsterley

First published in News

RESIDENTS met with the company hoping to install a £12.5 million wind farm near their countryside homes last night (Monday, August 11).

Representatives of Banks Renewables attended Hamsterley Parish Council meeting to answer questions about the revised planning application submitted to Durham County Council.

The Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Action Group (HUGAG), which is fighting the proposals, also attended the meeting at Hamsterley Village Hall.

The latest proposal is for four wind turbines, 125m high, to be installed on land south of Windy Bank road.

Objectors asked questions about the logistics of installing the wind turbines, before discussing the impact on the landscape, the environment and wildlife.

The initial application sought access to the site from a road crossing Linburn Beck, this has now been revised, and the access route changed to include access from north of the site.

The HUGAG have estimated that HGVs will pass through the village 3,000 times during the construction phase, if the application is successful.

Lewis Stoke, of Banks Renewables, said: “We won’t bring all of the vehicles through at once, it’s about making sure that there is as little disruption as possible.”

Jane Bee, chairwoman of Hamsterley Parish Council, said: “It seems like a logistical nightmare, this village was not built for these vehicles.”

If passed, the planning permission will allow the turbines to stay on site for 25 years, after which permission can be requested again or the turbines will have to be taken down and removed.

Regarding noise concerns, the Banks representatives explained that a noise limit will be imposed on the wind turbines along with strict conditions which they must adhere to.

Mark Morcroft, of Banks Renewables, said: “It’s important to know that the residents have protection, if there are any problems the turbine can be turned off, which will trigger an investigation from us.

“If we can’t address the issue then they will be taken out. The residents have an awful lot of power in this.”

However, regarding the revised applications, one resident said: “People are struggling to see what Banks have done in regard to landscape, visual amenity and wildlife and how you have taken on board what we have said.”

Banks Renewables said that onshore wind farms are the cheapest form of renewable energy and that the wind farm at Windy Bank could create up to 14MW of energy.

The company have agreed to give the area between £65,000 and £70,000 to the area, every year for 25 years that if the wind farm does achieve the target.

To view the planning application online, visit spatial.durham.gov.uk/dcs/SearchMain.asp and search for application reference number CMA/6/48.

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