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Lancashire wind farm gets go-ahead

A new £7.5m wind farm could be up and running in north Lancashire within 18 months.

Lancaster Council’s planning committee approved plans by Banks Renewables to create a three turbine farm called Heysham South on land off Middleton Road, to the south of the A683.

Turbines will rise to a height of 125 metres.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, welcomed the approval and said: “We will now look to move the project forward as quickly as we can.”

The company has also agreed to contribute £50,000 to create a Warm Zone scheme across the wider Lancaster area, where fuel poverty affects around one in four households. The scheme will help local householders make more efficient use of energy. A community benfits fund worth at least £10,000 per year will also be created to support work by Local voluntary groups, community organisations and environmental projects.

Coun Keith Budden, Chairman of the council’s Planning Committee said: “As a nation we’re signed up to more wind turbines and it’s part of that process. It’s going in an area where there are quite a large number of pylons. We look at wind turbines purely on a case by case, site by site basis. We have some councillors more in favour of wind turbines than others. This was one of the more unusual ones – a large majority were in favour of the development.”

The committee voted by 11 votes to 3, with one abstention in favour of the Heysham South application.

Middleton, Overton and Heaton-with-Oxcliffe Parish Councils had no objections to the scheme.

Banks Renewables predicts the farm will produce enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity demands of some 4,200 homes.

Mr Dyke added: “It will prevent the release of around 8,475 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year that would occur through the production of the same amount of energy by non-renewable means.”

It’s expected that between 10 and 50 people will work on the site during the preparation and construction phases with local businesses able to tender for contracts ranging from catering and accommodation to security.

The councillor who abstained, Coun Paul Woodruff said he had abstained on principle. He said: “There was obviously quite a lot of support from the local parish councils and some of the residents. But there was some oposition from residents…I support all sorts of alternative energy sources but I don’t really agree with putting them in the middle of the community causing distress, even if it’s only to individuals.”