MAJOR changes could come to a New Cumnock wind farm as proposals demand bigger turbines.

Plans have now been lodged to Lethans Wind Farm which hope to introduce the site’s lifespan from 25 to 30 years, as well as increase the height and the rotor diameter of the turbines.

Hamilton-based employer, Banks Renewables, amended the plans in order to boost the amount of clean, green energy generated, while maintaining its commitments for a 22-turbine site.

The farm would power over 90,000 with an estimated 105.6MW of energy to the National Grid.

Communities within 10km of Lethans would benefit from a £7.1m local community benefit fund.

This includes £1.3m skills and training fund to help around 440 local unemployed people overcome barriers to work as well as a £250,000 contribution towards new mountain bike trails on the Lethans site.

They would also have the opportunity to purchase up to a five per cent share in the wind farm.

Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at Banks Renewables, said: “Our updated plans are really exciting and reflect our commitment to delivering real, long-lasting benefits to East Ayrshire.

“If the amendments are approved, it will enable us to increase the clean, green electricity generated by Lethans Wind Farm, as well as make an investment of approximately £39m into the Scottish economy during construction.

Overall, it is estimated that £132m will be invested into the Scottish economy during the project lifecycle.

The site was initially granted planning consent by the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit in March 2018 following a positive recommendation from East Ayrshire Council.

Jeannie added: “We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the planning process over the past couple of years and hope that it will once again lead to a positive decision from the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit and local planning authority.”

In line with its Connect2Renewables initiative, Banks hopes to create upwards of 130 direct jobs during the site’s constructions and prioritising local companies, wherever possible, for the construction contracts.

The Hamilton based employer has been praised for its partnership approach to the proposals by working with members of the local community at each stage of the planning process.

If approved, the electricity generated from the wind farm will provide funding to deliver tailored benefits to directly fit the needs of the communities, including helping to support their recently launched action plans.

The firm is also offering the community the opportunity to purchase up to a 5% stake in the project at a discounted rate, presenting an opportunity for long lasting, positive benefits for the local area.

Banks Renewables is committed to clean energy and its promotion. They are equally driven to ensure that their projects deliver tangible social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities in which they operate.