Big increase for community benefit from wind farms on the table

Community benefits from wind farms could be increased by 150% under new proposals by Argyll and Bute Council.

Residents are being asked to comment on the council’s new framework to advise on community benefits from onshore renewable developments.

The document sets out guidance that developers and communities should take into account when considering community benefits.

Community benefits are voluntary and can include financial payments or community investment in the particular renewable scheme.

The new framework suggests that payments to communities be set at £5,000 per megawatt (MW) of installed capacity per year, advocating community buy-in to new schemes and a regional element of funding.

Regional funding is not included in the plans for a community wind farm above Helensburgh,

The framework recommends that:

  • Community benefits are provided for all new renewable developments with an installed capacity of 5MW or more and commercial schemes over 50 kilowatts (KW)
  • Community benefits are paid at a minimum of £5,000/MW
  • All benefits are index linked and last the lifetime of the project
  • A community investment option, enabling the community to purchase a share in the renewable energy development, should be offered on all new commercial renewable developments
  • Community benefit funds shall include a local (50%) and regional or sub-regional element (50%). The regional/sub-regional fund will focus on delivering wider community benefit aligning to the priorities set out in community investment plans.

The council’s acting policy lead for economic development, Ellen Morton, said: ‘’While the council cannot compel developers to follow our new guidelines we will be working very closely with them and are hopeful that they will buy into these principles.

‘’Before finalising the framework we are looking for the views of members of the public, community councils, renewable groups and our other partners in the Argyll and Bute Renewables Alliance (ABRA) so that we come up with a framework which will seek to maximise the local community benefit from future on shore renewable developments and which will be of a useful reference tool for developers and communities alike.’’

‘The consultation will run until Friday March 13 and is available on the council website.

The council’s current policy recommends that community benefits are paid at £2,000/MW.

5 Comments

  1. If wind farm developers stick to A&B planning rules that’s fine. However the last two local applications go totally against the local plan of 50Mtrs in height. So how can the community trust them to adhere to these new rules these are only guide lines so after the application is approved who knows what these developers will pay. It can be seen by past applications these developers will go to any means to get the public on their sides, Has in one case not too far from Helensburgh applicants were telling members of the local community that they would receive free electricity if the supported the application. They didn’t inform them that their electricity bill would also increase to pay them government subsidies. If an application is submitted to the planners that does not follow the simple rules of 50Mtrs then it should be rejected straight away and so stop wasting planners time and tax payers money.

  2. O Dear, looking at the latest planning documents 21144856 and 21144853 there doesn’t seem to be much point in going ahead with this application. I wonder how long it will take and how much more time and money will be wasted before “The Plug Is Pulled”

  3. Thank goodness I would love to see the final bill for the amount this has cost. Glad I don’t have to pick it up. Be interesting to read the comments next week in the Advertiser.

  4. Interesting reply back from the developers on A&B planning site. They have a meeting with Glasgow Airport in March to discuss the matter. Am I missing something here? They have basically been told by A&B Council that the best option is to withdraw the application and that there is no way round and a solution is not possible. Here we go again an applicant has been told by experts that the plan is a non starter and yet they carry on and waste everyone’s time and money. I think we went down this route with another wind farm very close in Kilcreggan. When will these people take notice and listen to the people who know.

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