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Windfarm windfall?

People living near the site of a proposed windfarm could be in line for a £3m windfall to help heat their homes.

Banks Renewables wants to set up a so-called “Warm Zone” across Whitehaven if it is given permission to build six turbines on land near Moresby Parks.

The scheme would see people given grants to carry out improvements like cavity wall insulation and loft insulation to make their homes more energy efficient.

The firm said it would pump £50,000 in to establishing the scheme, which it says will help tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “Sharing the benefits of the schemes that we operate is part of Banks’ long-term policy for ensuring that local people gain long-term advantages from our presence.

“At a time when escalating fuel costs are making finances very tight for a lot of families, we believe that the Warm Zone scheme fund would make a real difference for thousands of people across the area.

“Several areas around the UK are already enjoying the benefits of an established Warm Zone scheme, with more energy efficiency homes, lower fuel bills, a reduction in excess winter-related deaths and job creation all arising as a result of its implementation.”

The scheme could create 12 jobs and would be run with community interest group Warm Zones.

Banks has already set up a similar project South Yorkshire in conjunction with the Penny Hill windfarm in Rotherham.

And the company pledged a £5,000 grant to the Methodist Church at Cleator Moor to pay for the installation of a new boiler.

The firm’s proposed west Cumbrian windfarm would include six turbines with a maximum tip height of 115 metres.

It would have an installed capacity of up to 12MW, which would be enough to meet the annual electricity consumption requirements of approximately 9,500 homes.