Work on the development of a new wind farm to the North East of Darlington is set to take a step forward after a County Durham firm was awarded the contract to carry out geological investigations on the site.
Regional employer Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, was granted planning permission by Darlington Borough Council for the Moor House wind farm at the end of 2011, and has since been working to address technical issues and planning conditions associated with the scheme.
A programme of site investigations is now set to be undertaken at the Moor House site, which involves using small drilling rigs and an excavator to establish the ground conditions of the site in preparation for the eventual start of construction, which is expected to begin by the end of the year.
Allied Exploration & Geotechnics Limited of Chester Le Street has been appointed in conjunction with Capita to carry out the site investigation work, which will start on Monday 14 March and which is expected to take around four to six weeks to complete.
The six-turbine Moor House scheme, which will be sited on land to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1, will involve a £17.5m investment by Banks Renewables, and will offer local businesses the opportunity to tender for contracts worth up to £4.5million in relation to different elements of the scheme, including construction, security, accommodation and catering.
A community benefits fund will be created from revenues generated by the wind farm, offering £375,000 of funding over the 25-year lifetime of the scheme for local community groups, environmental and voluntary projects, in order to provide tangible long-term benefits for the community from Banks’ presence there.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The work that will be carried out at the Moor House site will help us finalise the details of our construction process, and will enable us to move a step closer to commencing construction.
“Awarding the contract for this work to a local supplier is the start of fulfilling our commitment towards giving local north east businesses the chance to benefit directly from its construction, and we expect to see many more contracts being won by other local businesses as the project moves through the development process.
“In addition to generating significant amounts of renewable energy, the Moor House wind farm will also bring a range of other benefits to the local area, from new jobs and commercial opportunities for local businesses through to funding for a range of local community improvements and skills development initiatives.
“Modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms such as Moor House are acknowledged as providing the lowest cost form of renewable energy generation, and we firmly believe they have a central role to play in the UK’s future energy mix, as well as in generating more of the energy that we all use via renewable means.”
For further information on the Moor House wind farm, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/moor-