On-site wind initiative for UK food giant

UK food giant Bernard Matthews is launching a pioneering community wind power co-operative which, it hopes, will help cut its carbon footprint.

The firm seeks to construct 50m-high single wind turbines on land it owns at six sites in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, at a capital cost of à‚£7.5m, which will be owned by the proposed co-operative.

The new project, called the Bernard Matthews Wind Energy Co-operative, is a partnership between the firm and Energy4All, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in developing community based renewable energy schemes.

The venture is also open to investment ” with residents and company staff offered a priority stake in the venture ahead of other potential investors, and among those able to apply for shares ranging from à‚£250 to à‚£20,000 per person with shareholders receiving a share of any profits generated.

But the first hurdle will be securing planning permission for the developments, to be located at Wendling, Wood Norton, Wreningham and Oulton in Norfolk and Causeway and Pinchbeck in Lincolnshire.

The move is the latest in a series of carbon-cutting initiatives by the firm including a à‚£4m plan to convert waste into biogas at its Holton factory in Suffolk, and plans for two giant wind turbines in Weston Longville.

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