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Stainton Quarry backs Windy Bank wind farm plans

Banks Renewables win support of local sandstone quarry for Teesdale wind farm planning application

THE local business opportunities and community funding benefits linked to plans for a new wind farm in Teesdale has seen them win the backing of a local sandstone quarrying business.

Stainton Quarry, near Barnard Castle, which reopened as an independent concern in 2010 after enduring difficult times during the recession, has experienced a resurgence in UK building projects, resulting in a significant upturn in the walling and aggregate manufacturing side of the business.

Now, managers at the firm have written to Durham County Council to support the planning application that County Durham-based Banks Renewables have put forward for the proposed Windy Bank wind farm, which would sit on agricultural land between the village of Woodland and the southern edge of Hamsterley Forest.

Tim McHale, safety and environmental manager at Stainton Quarry, said: ‘As a business situated in the Teesdale countryside, we’re closely involved with environmental matters, and firmly believe in keeping the countryside with which we’re blessed both picturesque and prosperous.

‘Banks have a strong track record of using suppliers based in the communities around their schemes, which is something from which we would hope to benefit if this project goes ahead, and the employment that this project would help to create and sustain can only be positive news for our area.

‘Making more use of renewable energy has to be part of the way in which we all live, both now and in the future, and we feel it’s right for our local council and MP to be supporting this kind of development to help secure and make good the future of both our local economy and the environment.’

Banks are looking to invest more than £16 million in the five-turbine Windy Bank wind farm, which recently won the support of Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman.

Around 30 jobs would be created during the site preparation and construction phases of the scheme, with local firms having the opportunity to tender for a range of related contracts worth up to £3.5 million.

The associated community benefits fund would be worth around £70,000 every year, or up to £1.75 million over the project’s 25-year lifespan.

Miles Crossley, senior business development manager at Banks Renewables, commented: ‘We’re grateful for the support we’ve had from both Stainton Quarry and the many other local businesses who’ve expressed an interest in working with us on the Windy Bank wind farm, and we hope we’ll get the chance to strengthen our relationships with them on this scheme.

‘We strongly believe that this is the right location for a new wind farm, and that the many environmental, social and economic benefits it would bring to the area combine to make a powerful case for its approval.’

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