Work on Batsworthy Cross wind farm to start next year
07:30 18 March 2014
Construction could be worth £1.3m to North Devon economy.
WORK on the Batsworthy Cross Wind Farm near South Molton is expected to start in spring next year.
Construction of the nine 103-metre-high turbines, on land near Knowstone next to the A361 North Devon Link Road, will take around 18 months.
Plans for the 18 megawatt wind farm were rejected by North Devon Council in 2012 but approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.
Developer RWE Innogy UK say construction contracts alone could be worth £1.3million to the North Devon economy.
On Friday, 35 local firms attended a business breakfast at Bishops Nympton Parish Hall to learn more about opportunities available.
Local firms could tender for a wide range of contracts, including the supply of materials; fencing; haulage; landscaping; surveying; storage; traffic management; joinery; hoteliers; plant hire; roofing; and earthworks.
Mark Weller, of Innogy Renewables, said: “For construction alone, these contracts could be worth £1.3 million to the North Devon area, with this figure rising to approximately £6.5 million over the 20 year life of the wind farm.
“We are committed to using local suppliers and contractors when possible.
“It was great to meet with so many local businesses and to hear about the wide range of skills that are available in this area.”
Speaking after the business breakfast, hosted by RWE, North Devon Council and RegenSW, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, North Devon Council’s executive member for economic regeneration, said: “I’m pleased to see RWE Innogy UK following through on its commitment to work with local businesses.
“This project has huge potential to help ensure that renewable energy has a positive impact on the local community.
“It is important for us as a local authority to ensure that we help to develop the right jobs at the right level here in North Devon.
“Projects like Batsworthy Cross Wind Farm could enable local companies to up-skill and connect with large suppliers and I particularly hope that we can involve young people in this.
“We need to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity for our whole community.”