Support all, not lucky few
Sir – Your “Confusion over windfarm cash” article of September 27 told how the lucky few’s interests were being served by the Glenkens and District Trust.
Reading the trust’s constitution it would appear none of the Stewartry’s main towns are eligible for the windfarm generosity.
The trust has chosen the Glenkens and any adjacent community council as beneficiaries – co-incidentally covering the least-populated area of Kirkcudbrightshire.
One Glenkens community is even offering to contribute to residents’ electricity bills – yet more than 40 per cent of the region’s households have fuel poverty.
Would a targeted fund to support the Stewartry’s less fortunate not be more appropriate?
Community benefit payouts are not compulsory and windfarm owners can decide the beneficiaries.
There are clear guidelines on what criteria apply when awarding grants. Any community group can, within reason, make representations for consideration.
Isolation of communities, population density, democratic accountability and not least the quality of applications all guide decisions.
We live in very constrained times. Our council paymasters are not bluffing when they announce cutbacks which we hear about weekly.
Is this windfarm largesse recognised when it comes to council support for Dalbeattie or Castle Douglas residents not fortunate enough to reside within in the trust’s catchment area? Why are our elected members of the main Kirkcudbrightshire towns not campaigning for a slice of windfarm benefit money?
In any case, what right does the trust have to represent anyone and create arbitrary boundaries? I’m no fan of windfarms but they are a necessary part of our energy generation portfolio.
We all contribute through our electricity bills to subsidies making these developments economically viable – and the spin-off community benefit funds being granted to the fortunate few. Blackcraig alone, potentially, will have £260,000-a-year for 25 years to distribute. That equates to £10 per resident across the Stewartry, or more than £40,000 to each of the three main Stewartry towns.
So come on Blackcraig – how about making a big gesture and supporting the Stewartry and not these small groups?