BOSSES behind a contentious wind farm development outside Hunmanby have hit back as the row over the plan rumbles on.
Banks Renewables chiefs have defended plans to build up to 14 turbines in the South Dale area in the face of fresh criticism from residents.
Campaigners strengthened their resolve during a rousing meeting last week and grilled Banks representatives for four hours in a heated meeting.
They also protested outside Hunmanby Community Centre to vent their anger at the potential impact of the wind farm on Hunmanby’s green vista.
However, Phil Dyke, Banks Renewables development director, defended the scheme and said it would bring huge benefits for the area at a time when energy production and consumption was evolving.
He said: “The proposed wind farm has, unsurprisingly, generated a great deal of interest.
“As developers, we are very keen to see this discussion continue as we believe it is crucial if people are going to have the chance to make up their minds about the scheme based on accurate and detailed information.
“It is an indisputable fact that, over the next few decades, as supplies of fossil fuels begin to dwindle, a far higher percentage of the energy that we all use is going to have to be generated from renewable sources if we’re going to be able to carry on enjoying the continuity of supply.
“Latest figures from leading industry body Renewable UK show less than ten per cent of the UK’s energy is now renewably generated, but this figure has to rise, and rise quickly, if we’re going to meet Government targets for 2020.
“Carefully designed and sited onshore wind farms have a crucial role to play in achieving this goal, and we firmly believe that the South Dale wind farm would, if approved, fall into this category.”
Mr Dyke, who has represented the company at various meetings with residents in Hunmanby, also touched upon the wider financial benefits the proposal would generate.
He said: “We know its approval and construction would bring a host of other benefits.
“The South Dale scheme would represent a £35 million capital investment in the local economy at a time when few companies are undertaking such major projects.
“In addition to this, the community benefits fund that would run alongside it would provide invaluable funding for community groups, voluntary organisations and environmental projects, significantly enhancing the area.
“Sharing the benefits of the property and energy schemes we operate with communities is part of our long-term policy, and this would very much be the case for Hunmanby.
“We would anticipate the likely capacity of the wind farm would up to 30 megawatts, this would mean that a community fund of up to £75,000 a year could be available.
“This would be replenished every year, potentially making some £1.8 million available to community groups and good causes over the wind farm’s 25-year life span.
“We firmly believe our public engagement work provides a very accurate way for us to properly understand issues of concern, and we will continue to work closely with all parties so everyone can make their minds up about our proposals based on the facts.
“Our professional planning opinion remains that the proposed site is entirely appropriate for the development, and we are confident we will be able to design a scheme that is both environmentally acceptable and capable of producing significant amounts of renewable energy.”