ENVIRONMENTALISTS are a step closer to setting up a community wind farm in the Colne Valley.
Valley Wind, a co-operative, has found a site and has started to test its suitability.
The voluntary group has installed a temporary meteorological mast to measure wind speed at a site near Cupwith reservoir at Slaithwaite Moor.
It eventually hopes to install three wind turbines and generate enough electricity to power 4,000 homes, roughly the number of homes in Marsden and Slaithwaite.
The group is also commissioning further research needed to draw up an environmental statement and submit a planning application for the project.
Information needed includes landscape assessments, a noise survey and telecoms and aviation studies.
Valley Wind has secured funding and investment for the mast, surveys and assessments from CO2Sense, The Key Fund, the Co-op Enterprise Hub and the Naturesave Trust.
Costs are expected to reach £150,000.
The group’s chairman Steve Slator said: “We are delighted the meteorological mast is now in place.
“This will measure wind speeds and direction over the next 12 months and help us assess the feasibility of the site.
“This is the site we want but there are no certainties.”
Valley Wind has been working on the scheme for three years and it could be another two years, subject to planning permission, before the wind farm is up and running.
Mr Slator thanked The Key Fund and CO2Sense for recent financial support which made the latest tests possible.
He added: “The main thing that is inspiring us is the community support and the good feedback we receive.
“People are very positive – and it’s certainly not easy – but if we can make it happen it will be a great scheme for Marsden, Slaithwaite and the whole of Kirklees.”
Victoria Allen, a consultant at CO2Sense, said: “It is great to see the Valley Wind project progressing.
“The benefits of this scheme are twofold. As well as benefiting the environment, it will generate a long-term revenue stream for this local community.”
Matt Smith, fund manager at The Key Fund, also backed the project and said: “We are delighted to be in a position to support Valley Wind in taking forward their ambitious plans to develop a community-owned farm.
“We believe strongly that real sustainable communities are built from within and this project is a real example of local people taking action to address today’s challenges.”
Valley Wind was started in 2006 by a group of local people wanting to play a part in fighting climate change and to develop a wind project which could benefit the local community by raising cash for sustainable energy and other local causes.
For more information see:
www.valleywind.coop or email: