By Billy Stockwell, Climate Correspondent
The largest wind turbine in England, which will stand at 150m tall, has had its planning permission granted by the Council and will be built in Avonmouth, Bristol.
Following the approval of its planning application back in July, the community-owned turbine is set to be up and running by spring 2022, providing low-carbon electricity to 3,500 homes and saving 1,965 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Councillor Kye Dudd, the Cabinet Member responsible for Transport, Energy & the New Green Deal, supports the developments, stating: ‘Community-owned energy assets like this must be at the heart of our efforts to address the climate emergency and create a cleaner, greener, healthier Bristol.’
Since new planning laws came into effect in 2016, the prevalence of on-shore wind power has greatly reduced - only three on-shore wind farms were completed in 2019.
In a drive for increased community-owned renewable schemes, this Bristol-based project has been commended for breaking the mould, or as Mayor Marvin J Rees has said, proving that ‘renewable energy can be owned by communities, not just by big business.’
Great to meet @ambitionlw and the team on the site of the proposed new Lawrence Weston community wind turbine. At 150m the biggest in England I am told. Now has passed all the planning hurdles. https://t.co/rhlZvJmckM pic.twitter.com/90TRwTNYZz— Kye Dudd (@KyeDudd) October 23, 2020
Alongside the apparent environmental benefits, the community team leading this project, Ambition Lawrence Weston, will be using profits - estimated at £50,000 annually - to fund development schemes in the area, including a community hub providing social support and debt advice.
It is no surprise then that the project has received huge amounts of support from local community members and leaders alike.
David Tudgey, Project Development Manager, says it’s been a ‘long journey’ but recognises the importance of this public support in getting the project approved.
He said: ‘Our achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the engaged support from residents of Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston Ward, local community groups, and local councillors.’
Mr Tudgey also highlights how this project will benefit Bristol in its journey to reduce carbon emissions to net zero carbon by 2030.
‘[This project will] provide a blueprint for the hundreds of other community energy groups around the UK to create green jobs in the midst of a deepening recession and quicken the transition to a zero carbon energy system.’
This recent news accompanies a long list of green credentials for Bristol, with the city becoming the UK’s first Cycling City in 2008 and claiming the title as European Green Capital in 2015.
However, with findings from earlier this year suggesting that Bristol will not meet its 2030 carbon targets without a significant reduction in emissions within the city, it is hard to judge the genuine impact of this new, and relatively modest, development.
The project has already received funding from Bristol City Council, the West of England Combined Authority and the Bristol and Bath Regional Capital group. It still needs more investment to meet its £4.8m target.
Featured Image: Unsplash / Thomas Reabourg
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