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Windfarm plan for Caldercruix as energy firm eyes four-turbine facility

An energy firm is proposing to build a four-turbine wind farm to the south-east of Caldercruix.

West Coast Energy staged a public exhibition in the village’s community centre last Tuesday evening to highlight their development idea for Forrestfield wind farm.

They say the planned 125-metre turbines would generate up to 12 megawatts of electricity, powering nearly 6400 homes, during the development’s intended 25-year lifespan.

Company representatives also intend to establish a £60,000 annual “community benefit fund” should the project go ahead, with at least a fifth of that money in the first five years being earmarked for initiatives helping to tackle the growing issue of fuel poverty.

Steve Salt, who is the energy company’s planning and public affairs director, said: “We’ve been looking forward to meeting residents, councillors, organisations and local businesses to present our renewable energy generation plans and our proposed investment in the area.

“The generation of renewable energy at Forrestfield presents an excellent opportunity for communities in this area to share in the benefits of their local energy resources.

“It’s a principle that we’re committed to and have a track record in delivering, and we look forward to discussing ways that the local area can benefit from this investment.

“Fuel poverty is an important issue which affects some 41 per cent of households in North Lanarkshire and can have serious consequences for people’s health, employment and education.

“Our partnership with national charity Energy Action Scotland and profits generated by Forrestfield wind farm would mean a significant amount of money would be utilised to specifically tackle this major problem.”

Yesterday’s exhibition forms part of the “pre-application consultation” stage of the planning process.

Residents’ views and comments will then be taken on board ahead of the company submitting their formal application to North Lanarkshire Council, potentially at the end of April.

Should planning permission be granted, work a development of the proposed size could typically begin around six months later, with construction expected to take around nine months.

The community benefit fund figures are based on an annual payment of £5000 per megawatt of installed generation output, “in line with current Scottish Government recommendations”.

Officials from the energy firm added: “In addition to the community benefit fund, West Coast Energy is prepared to explore opportunities for local investment in the wind farm and sharing a percentage of revenue with community organisations and charities; for the renewable electricity generated to be supplied to local public and private sector organisations.”

Further information on the project is available at www.forrestfieldwindfarm.co.uk