Planning application submitted for South Lanarkshire windfarm

A PLANNING application for a major South Lanarkshire wind farm that could help families save millions each year on their energy bills, has been submitted to the council for review.

Planning officials are expected to consider proposals by Banks Renewables to develop the 37-turbine Bodinglee Wind Farm and battery storage development near Douglas.

If approved, Bodinglee will be among the most powerful and most efficient onshore wind farms in the UK and would provide more than 200,000 households with green electricity annually.

It could also displace the equivalent of around 70,000 petrol cars’ annual CO2 emissions from the UK’s electricity supply grid.

Over the 40-year lifespan of the proposed wind farm, Banks Renewables forecast a blended community benefits package of an estimated £53m would meaningfully improve the lives of local people by helping them to save an estimated £2.5-4.5 million each year on their energy bills.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables, said: “We believe we have presented a very strong case for approving this scheme, which would deliver significant environmental, social and economic benefits to local communities in South Lanarkshire that would help tackle climate change and drive down energy bills for local households.

“The blended benefits package which would result from Bodinglee Wind Farm is innovative in its approach.

“Looking beyond the traditional model of issuing grants from a central pot, seeking to reshape how a just energy transition could directly benefit local households and the wider community.”

The creation of a community-owned organisation – Clydesdale Community Energy Transition Company (CCETco) – would help thousands of families to save millions on their energy bills.

It would do this by improving the thermal efficiency of homes in the area and replacing ageing, fossil fuelled heating systems.

Banks Renewables commissioned a study by independent consultants Natural Power that has shown that funding these money saving measures could result in between £2-4.4m in annual savings on energy bills for 6,500 local households.

All of these households are in an area identified as being especially exposed to rising energy costs due to a higher-than-average proportion of older, energy inefficient properties. 

In addition to the creation of CCETco, Banks Renewables has offered to gift a 1% stake in the wind farm to the community.

A further 9% will be available to purchase at market rate if desired, which would boost the community funding element above the £53m figure.

Robin Winstanley added: “Our vision for the site is not just to create a wind farm, but for Bodinglee to deliver sustainable, positive and transformative change for South Lanarkshire.

“Since we commenced development of the project in 2021 we have been meeting with and listening to local communities, businesses, and a wide variety of people locally, and we hope we have exceeded their expectation of what Bodinglee Wind Farm can contribute to South Lanarkshire and we hope that people locally will support our application to build what would be a nationally significant green energy development on the UK and Scotland’s journey to net zero.”

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