Construction and testing of the new Lambs Hill Wind Farm at Stillington near Stockton on Tees is now complete and the wind farm is now officially up and running.
Main contractor Cheetham Hill Construction has signed off on its work for County Durham-based developer Banks Renewables, which makes it the eighth operational onshore wind farm that family-owned Banks has taken from blueprint to completion across England and Scotland.
The milestone also means that funding is now officially available from the community fund linked to the wind farm, from which local community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations in the areas are being invited to apply for grants.
Contracts worth well over £1m have been awarded to more than two dozen North East sub-contractors as part of the creation of the Lambs Hill Wind Farm, which has an installed capacity of up to 10MW.
Erection of the four turbines which make up the wind farm finished in November, with clean green energy beginning to be generated on completion of the required testing and commissioning work.
Banks Renewables will now provide £10,000 every year of community funding from the fund linked to the new wind farm, which sits to the north west of Stockton, or around £250,000 over the scheme’s 25-year lifespan.
Projects in Stillington & Whitton, Bishopton, Foxton, Great Stainton, Little Stainton, Grindon, and Bishopton Crossings, or those outside these areas that will benefit
speople living in them, could be supported by the fund and eligible groups are now encouraged to submit applications.
Banks Renewables will work in partnership with the local community around the distribution of the available funding to ensure that available capital is spent in ways which create long term benefits and meet local priorities.
A funding committee comprised of local people and supported by a dedicated fund manager from the Banks Community Fund team has already been set up, and will sit every few months to assess the applications it receives.
Funding committee chair Sue Bell, who sits on Great Stainton Parish Council, says: “As a committee, we are looking forward to ensuring that the annual donation of monies from Banks Renewables is used to benefit a wide range of projects within our local community, and it is our intention that all projects will directly benefit people living in the immediate surrounding area.”
Banks Renewables will hold an official opening event for the wind farm later in the year.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, says: “When the Lambs Hill scheme was first announced, we committed to using it to bring a range of economic, employment, supply chain, environmental and community benefits to the local area, and we’re very pleased to have lived up to this promise.
“The money that the wind farm will generate for the community fund will have a substantial long-term impact on the facilities available for local people, and with the funding now starting to come on stream, we’re keen to hear from as many different local groups as we can about how they think it could benefit their work.
“Public funding remains very hard to come by for many community groups, and involving a range of community representatives in the determination of grant applications will help us to ensure that it is being allocated in ways which meet local priorities.
“Modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms such as Lambs Hill generate safe, clean and sustainable energy, as well as offering the cheapest available form of renewable energy generation, and we’re pleased to add Lambs Hill to our portfolio of operational onshore wind farms around the UK.”
A maximum grant of £3,000 per project is available from the community benefits fund, with particular emphasis being placed on the children, senior citizens and disabled within the community.
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for grant funding from the fund can contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 or visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/
development-with-care/ bankscommunityfund/wind-farm- community-fund to check if their group or project is eligible.