Wind­farm ben­e­fit fund talks planned

Politi­cians set to meet new own­ers

The Galloway News - - NEWS - Stephen Nor­ris

The new own­ers of Blackcraig wind­farm have agreed to open talks on es­tab­lish­ing a ben­e­fit fund for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Tem­po­ris Cap­i­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tives will meet south of Scot­land MSP Emma Harper and Dee and Glenkens coun­cil­lor Dougie Camp­bell on Novem­ber 15.

The Scot­tish Par­lia­ment sum­mit comes weeks af­ter Tem­po­ris took over Blackcraig from Blue En­ergy.

A com­mu­nity fund worth £260,000 an­nu­ally un­til 2044 had been agreed pro­vi­sion­ally be­fore the buy­out.

If Tem­po­ris stands by that deal, £5,000 per week would be­gin flow­ing into a fund for lo­cal projects from May next year.

Ms Harper said: “Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Tem­po­ris Cap­i­tal Ltd have agreed to a meet­ing to dis­cuss the com­mu­nity ben­e­fit fund­ing and their will­ing­ness to en­gage with lo­cal com­mu­nity coun­cils.

“There is the po­ten­tial for sub­se­quent fol­low up meet­ings in the Bal­maclen­nan, New Gal­loway, Dalry and Cor­sock area where these 23 wind­mills are in op­er­a­tion.”

Coun­cil­lor Camp­bell wel­comed the chance to dis­cuss a fu­ture cash deal af­ter a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty.

He said: “I’ve be­come in­creas­ingly con­cerned by the lack of progress in find­ing a suit­able way of dis­tribut­ing wind­farm com­mu­nity ben­e­fit fund­ing to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties around the Glenkens area.

“With the re­cent change of own­er­ship of Blackcraig there needs to be a com­mit­ment from the new own­ers to hon­our the pre­vi­ous agree­ment by Blue En­ergy to dis­trib­ute around £260,000 per an­num over the next 25 years.

“This money will be in­valu­able to our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. There­fore, I very much wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to meet with Tem­po­ris Cap­i­tal and to seek their as­sur­ance that they will work with com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives to en­sure a pos­i­tive out­come.”

Tem­po­ris Cap­i­tal di­rec­tor Matt Ri­d­ley con­firmed the meet­ing at Holy­rood.

Mr Ri­d­ley said: “The meet­ing is to dis­cuss com­mu­nity ben­e­fit fund­ing from Blackcraig. “We have no broader agenda than that.” Pre­vi­ous own­ers Blue En­ergy en­vis­aged a lo­cal panel to ad­min­is­ter its 25-year £6.5 mil­lion com­mu­nity ben­e­fit fund.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives were to be drawn from com­mu­ni­ties in and around the Glenkens.

There is no in­di­ca­tion at this stage whether Tem­po­ris will adopt a sim­i­lar model.

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