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Hirer has high hopes

A Borders plant hirer and builder is supporting plans by a renewable energy company to build a 15-turbine wind farm near Hawick.

Rodger Builders Ltd backed the proposal after Banks Renewables pledged to maximise contracting opportunities for local firms and to give priority to placing local businesses on tender lists. Construction contracts worth “several millions” will be available.

Banks is awaiting a decision on its application to construct the 60MW complex at its Birneyknowe site between Hawick and Bonchester Bridge.

Willie Rodger, co-owner of Rodger Builders, believes the project would provide employment and training opportunities and boost the local economy. “As the seventh generation to run the family business we certainly have a proud heritage but we have to ensure that the focus is on the future and creating and safeguarding skilled jobs in the Borders.

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Willie Rodger (left) with Miles Crossley, senior business development manager at Banks Renewables.

“If Birneyknowe Wind Farm gets the go-ahead we would hope to provide our plant hire and construction services, which could result in a substantial amount of work and would likely see us taking on staff and apprentices. What’s more, we would subcontract work to local businesses, guaranteeing the economic boost would be felt by many in the area.”

Banks Renewables has also submitted plans for a £105m wind farm in Ayrshire. The 26-turbine installation also has the potential to generate millions of pounds for local services including aggregates supply.

Proposals for the Lethans Community Wind Farm near New Cumnock have been lodged with the Scottish Government’s energy consents and deployment unit and East Ayrshire Council.

Banks believes its proposal is “particularly strong” with a design that will mean the landscape of the area will provide natural screening from key lines of sight. The remote site is notable for its high wind speeds and low visual impact.

If approved, the farm will create a financial boost to an economy that has suffered in recent years through the closure of its coal mines. Construction costs are estimated at £105m with a potential £21m for local services ranging from aggregates supply to catering facilities.

Elsewhere, Banks has formally appealed East Ayrshire Council’s decision to reject plans for an eight-turbine wind farm at High Cumnock. The appeal is backed by two community councils from the areas closest to the proposed site and Banks is citing that support as it calls for a review of the decision made late in 2014.

 

Article posted 19/3/2015

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