Peel has announced details of a series of public consultation events for local people to consider and provide their views on how Scout Moor Wind Farm could be expanded.
The events will be held at a number of Rochdale, Bury, Rossendale Valley and Todmorden locations and will offer the public the opportunity to provide feedback that could help to guide the design of any future expansion. The consultations will take place over three weeks commencing on Monday 28 November.
Studies are currently underway to consider the potential to install more wind turbines within the existing wind farm area and in locations to the north and east of the existing turbines. Initial findings from this work will be available at the events.
Peel Energy’s development director Jon England said: “We are committed to involving the public in our plans to expand the wind farm and we would like to see as many people as possible during this first consultation period while the proposals are at the early stage of development.”
“We are keen to gain views on a number of issues such as the possible location and size of new turbines. We will also be able to discuss the options for accessing the site and connecting the new turbines to the electricity grid.”
“We will also have interactive software on hand that enables people to appreciate how the turbines might appear from any particular location of interest to them.”
The events will be held at the following locations and times:
- Spotland Stadium, Rochdale – 28 November, 2pm – 8pm
- St Paul’s Church Parish Hall, Norden – 30 November, 2pm – 8pm
- The Riverside, Whitworth – 1 December, 2pm – 8pm
- Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre, Rochdale – 3 December, 11am – 5pm
- Fearns Community College, Stacksteads – 5 December, 5pm – 9pm
- Bacup Hub, Bacup – 6 December, 2pm – 8pm
- St Mary’s Chambers, Rawtenstall – 7 December, 2pm – 8pm
- Edenfield Community Centre, Edenfield – 9 December, 2pm – 8pm
- Bury Town Hall, Bury – 10 December, 11am – 5pm
- The Phoenix Centre, Heywood – 12 December, 2pm – 8pm
- Todmorden Town Hall, Todmorden – 14 December, 2pm – 8pm
The performance of the existing wind farm has confirmed the value of the site for electricity generation. Jon England said: “The existing wind farm has consistently generated substantial amounts of low carbon electricity. The public open days and school visits have also been very popular and have helped dispel the myths associated with wind power.”
Mr England continued: “There are a number of reasons why we are considering an expansion of Scout Moor Wind Farm: there is a proven high wind resource; there is existing access and grid connection; there is an opportunity to enhance security of electricity supply in Greater Manchester and the Rossendale Valley; and there are significant benefits for the area.”
The Habitat Enhancement Plan fund that was set up when the wind farm came into operation in 2008 has also already committed over £110,000 of its £500,000 budget over the life of the wind farm. This money from the wind farm has contributed to a number of successful projects to restore degraded peat moorland in the South Pennines area.
If a wind farm extension were to take place, a substantial community benefit fund would be set up that could be accessed by the community to support local projects and good causes. A co-operative ownership scheme is also being considered that would offer members of the local community the opportunity to gain a stake and a return on investment in the wind farm.
An expansion to the wind farm also offers opportunities to improve areas of heavily degraded peat moor as well as protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat areas and water resources on Scout Moor through new funding schemes similar to the existing Habitat Enhancement Plan fund.
The government is also currently consulting on proposals to retain the business rates (rateable taxes) from renewable energy schemes within the budgets of the local councils where they reside.
Mr England said: “Early studies have shown that there is sufficient land available to more than double the output of the wind farm. Further technical studies are underway to inform discussions with statutory consultees (such as Natural England and the local councils), interest groups, and local communities. These discussions and the feedback from the public consultation events will allow us to better understand the potential issues related to extending the wind farm and prepare firm proposals for the development.”