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Local groups boosted by £300k of wind farm funds since Covid

LOCAL groups in South Lanarkshire have had their coffers topped up by over £300,000 collectively since 2020 through community grants courtesy of a local wind farm.

Banks Renewables’ Middle Muir Wind Farm, which operates near Douglas in South Lanarkshire, has directly contributed the huge sum to local community projects through the Renewable Energy Fund (REF).

The South Lanarkshire Council REF grants receive funding from wind farms throughout South Lanarkshire, including funding from Middle Muir Wind Farm which is operated by family firm Banks Renewables. The fund has offered several local organisations in Abington, Douglas, and Crawfordjohn a financial lifeline, allowing them to rebuild after experiencing difficulties during the Covid pandemic.

Among those who have benefited from a grant are Douglas Victoria Bowling Club and Abington Community Development Group. Grants between £10,000 and £100,000 have been awarded to the groups facilitating a range of local developments, from constructing disabled access at Douglas Victoria Bowling Club to supporting a campus refurbishment in Abington.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables, said: “For one of our wind farms to have contributed so much in a short space of time is a real milestone for us. We are immensely proud to be supporting our local communities in South Lanarkshire through the generation of clean, renewable electricity at Middle Muir Wind Farm.

“Seeing the diverse range of projects that REF from Middle Muir has supported demonstrates that an injection of funds at grassroots level can positively impact local communities in a wide variety of ways.

“It is very exciting for us to be leading the way nationally in directing funds back into local communities for worthy causes. When we consider how this could be upscaled and replicated on a national level, the potential for further development is really exciting.

“As we keep driving the transition to renewable electricity generation through windfarms such as Middle Muir, we remain eager to hear of South Lanarkshire communities’ ambitions for future developments and are committed to ensuring all of our projects have major community benefits.”

The REF, distributed by South Lanarkshire Council with finances raised from local renewables projects like Middle Muir, has also contributed significantly to the generation of more renewable electricity in the area.

An example of this was the funding the installation of photovoltaics at Crawfordjohn Village Hall. Members at the village hall anticipate it will generate enough electricity to reduce the hall’s running costs by 80% with electricity energy being diverted back into the grid for wider benefit. The grant, totalling nearly £100,000, has given the village hall the opportunity to become one of the greenest in the country.

The grants support communities within 10 kilometres of participating windfarms and, through collaborating with South Lanarkshire Council, Banks Renewables aims to boost the economic and social benefits of generating wind power in South Lanarkshire with local residents.

Councillor Robert Brown, the council’s Chair of Community and Enterprise Resources, said: “The environmental benefits of wind-generated energy are well known and extremely important to us in the present and the future but, in addition to this, the grants from the Renewable Energy Fund are a massive bonus to rural communities among whom these wind-farms are based.

“The contributions from Middle Muir Wind Farm have made a tremendous difference to communities right across the surrounding area. Through partnership working and mutual support, this vital funding has greatly enhanced a number of community facilities in the rural areas of South Lanarkshire.”

Middle Muir is one of two Banks Renewables-operated windfarms in South Lanarkshire, along with Kype Muir whose REF has awarded over a quarter of a million pounds into community projects. With fifteen turbines operating, Middle Muir windfarm guarantees the local community up to £6.37million worth of funding over the lifetime of the project.

Banks Renewables has proposed other related renewable energy projects for development in South Lanarkshire.

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About Banks Renewables • We are members of RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables and the Independent Renewable Energy Generators Group (IREGG) • In order to achieve net zero the UK will need to deploy substantial amounts of low carbon infrastructure across the UK for several decades • Banks Renewables is a leading independent sustainable business, generating electricity at a consistent, low cost and supporting the UK’s transition to net zero • As a family business we believe in placing people and planet at the heart of what we do – this is what we call development with care • We are constantly looking for better ways to deliver renewables projects which tackle climate change, help to drive down energy bills for the consumer and help to improve the UK’s energy security over the long term. • We care about what we do and the way that we do it, including long term relationships with local communities. Last year over £1,000,000 of community funding was awarded to 100+ community groups and environmental projects • We believe in being a good neighbour, with a long and proud track record of playing a positive role in our local communities • Our Connect2Renewables initiative is an industry leading approach to support local businesses and communities. We are committed to bringing local businesses into our supply chain to create local jobs and establishing local panels to guide investment • Our projects protect, encourage and enhance the local environment while tackling climate change • We work in partnership with landowners to provide additional value to existing business, enable agriculture and developments to proceed • There is clear, longstanding support, for renewable technologies in the UK amongst the general public Key facts • Banks Renewables was incorporated in 2006 • We have secured planning permission for 14 windfarms and currently operate ten onshore wind farms across Scotland and the north of England with a combined installed generation capacity of 223MW • Our ten wind farms are: i) Armistead; ii) Hazlehead; iii) Heysham South; iv) Hook Moor; v) Kype Muir; vi) Lambs Hill; vii) Marr; viii) Middle Muir; ix) Moor House and x) Penny Hill • We expect our ten onshore wind farms to generate around 596Gwh per year • We have also obtained planning permission for two solar arrays and are developing other renewable and flexible energy projects too • We have planning permission for 200MW of renewable electricity generation, with a further 347MW in the planning system • We have achieved a reduction of 620,000 tonnes of CO2 from operational projects to date • The 547MW we have in various stages of the planning and build out process is enough to provide electricity for around 400,000 homes or a city larger than Leeds or Glasgow. About The Banks Group • For more information about The Banks Group please see: • The Banks Group develops, land for a variety of uses including property development, renewable and flexible energy generation and storage, mining, transport and plant services • Banks Mining has successful worked and restored 116 surface mines throughout the north of England and Scotland. We no longer mine coal and we are applying this expertise to mining other minerals and are currently mining gypsum and pursuing other mineral extraction projects throughout the UK. • Banks Transport operates a fleet of HGV tipper wagons efficiently and safely delivering a range of materials to our customers. • Banks Plant Solutions provides plant and equipment service, maintenance and management for the businesses across the North East of England, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. • The Banks Group is a family business, employing people across the north of England and Scotland. It was established by our chairman and chief executive Harry Banks OBE, DL, FRICS in 1976 • The core values of our business are to undertake all our projects in a sensitive and careful manner. We call this approach development with care. We aim for our developments to make a positive long term impact on the environment and the local communities that host our developments

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