07/04/16 

EDF Energy Renewables is continuing its support of one of Redcar’s most important costal community schemes by providing funding for new equipment. 

Launched in 1996, Coastwatch Redcar trains volunteers to assist the HM Coastguard and search and rescue services in the event of an emergency or unusual incident at sea. The team is based at the Lookout watch tower above the Zetland Lifeboat Museum on the Esplanade in Redcar.

The watch tower has been able to replace its original technology with new scanning equipment thanks to a donation of almost £5,000 from the EDF Energy Renewables local community benefit fund.

The renewables development company, which owns and operates the Teesside offshore wind farm off the coast of Redcar, previously supported Coastwatch Redcar with support to refurbish its facility and has agreed to provide this additional support, given the importance of the scheme to users of the sea area off the coast of Redcar. 

Trevor Smith, chairman of Coastwatch Redcar, said: “The existing radar system has been in continuous operation since July 2009 and has recently developed mechanical problems. Without the radar, we are unable to thoroughly scan the area.

“We are delighted to receive further support from EDF Energy Renewables. Without the funding we wouldn’t be able to operate to the standard we currently are.”

By supporting Coastwatch, many local people are likely to benefit from the scheme, including leisure craft operators, fishermen, swimmers and surfers, as well as those using the beach and promenade. It will allow volunteers to help HM Coastguard monitor the movement of vessels and record any incidents at sea and along the seafront.

James Wilson, Operations Engineer for the wind farm at EDF Energy Renewables, said: “We are delighted to continually support a scheme that provides such an important service to the local community and has a special relationship with all those associated with the coast including the Teesside offshore wind farm. 

“The volunteers work around the clock to plot coastal movements and inform HM Coastguard and ourselves if there is any unusual coastal activity in the vicinity of the wind farm.”

EDF Energy Renewables has supported more than 70 local projects and activities through the Teesside Offshore Community Benefit Fund, is operated by the company in partnership with the Tees Valley Community Foundation.  Through the scheme, community groups on Teesside are eligible to apply for financial support for projects, activities and events that benefit local people.

The Teesside offshore wind farm was officially opened in 2014. It comprises 27 turbines, with a capacity of over 60MW of low carbon electricity – enough to supply the average annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes*. 

* Based on DECC and Digest of UK Energy Statistics figures