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Construction firm defends windfarm plans

A construction company has defended plans for a controversial windfarm site.

Barr Ltd, which operates Tongland Quarry outside Kirkcudbright, highlighted job creation as a positive for the Knockendurrick Wind Farm proposals.

The company’s Keith Patterson said: “Banks Renewables commitment to using local firms during the construction is great news and, as a company, we are of the belief that developers should use local labour wherever possible as it helps make a valuable contribution to the local economy.

“We look forward to hearing more about the tender process and the potential opportunity to work with Banks Renewables if the wind farm is approved.”

The Hamilton-based firm held three information days recently for local businesses interested in the tendering process for building the windfarm.

But the £32 million Knockendurrick proposals have been heavily criticised by people living locally.

The company wants to build seven turbines between Twynholm and Kirkcudbright, reduced from original plans for 10.

Banks Renewables has already commissioned Dalry renewables and planning firm, Natural Power, to assist with delivering the project.

Banks is also in talks with the council about delivering an employment and training initiative.

It will form part of the final application to the local authority when submitted.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “We have a strong commitment to supporting local communities in the development of our wind farms.

“Spending money locally and using local firms that employ local people are very important parts of fulfilling our commitment.”

But an anti-windfarm group has questioned how big the jobs boost to the area will be.

Keith Mycock from Turbine Watch 312 said: “Tongland Quarry would be the obvious place to obtain concrete and general aggregates for any development in this area and there is nothing special about them being used by Banks.

“Heavy construction materials are almost always sourcedfrom the nearest supplier as transport forms a major part of the costs.

“Neither of these companies is likely to take on permanent additional employees because of this potential contract.

“The developer’s claim of a small number of temporary jobs for people within Dumfries and Galloway just for the duration of the construction period is a very small share for a development of this size.

“It will be interesting to see who does most of the work on site.

“It is more likely to be the wind farm specialists connected with the turbine manufacturers from outwith Scotland.”