£3m wind­fall for lo­cals

Pay­ments: En­ergy gi­ant in­vites com­mu­ni­ties to ap­ply for share of fund

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY DAVID MCPHEE

The en­ergy gi­ant be­hind a con­tro­ver­sial north-east wind farm will of­fer £3 mil­lion to the com­mu­nity.

Vat­ten­fall, which op­er­ates the 11-tur­bine Aberdeen Bay devel­op­ment, will open the first ap­pli­ca­tions for the com­mu­nity ben­e­fit fund pay­ment to­day. The com­pany an­nounced it will in­vest £150,000 each year into com­mu­ni­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions over the 20-year life­span of the

“I’m very pleased they are putting money back into the com­mu­nity”

project through the Un­lock Our Fu­ture Fund. Lo­cal woman Edna Booth, who fought against the wind farm and the dis­rup­tion the sub­sta­tion caused Black­dog, said she was pleased the com­mu­nity would get some­thing back.

She said: “Al­though I was dis­ap­pointed in the way they (Vat­ten­fall) han­dled a lot of things – we have had con­struc­tion lor­ries go­ing up and down our roads for two years – I’m very pleased they are putting money back into the com­mu­nity. I’m also very happy with the land­scap­ing work that has been done at the sub­sta­tion as well, it was some­thing I was quite wor­ried about but they have made a very good job of it.”

Bel­helvie Com­mu­nity Coun­cil mem­ber, David Wal­lace, ex­pressed hopes a por­tion of the fund­ing which has been ringfenced for the peo­ple of Black­dog could go to­wards the cre­ation of a new hall in the vil­lage.

He said: “Res­i­dents have re­ally had to put up with a lot of dis­rup­tion, and I am hope­ful the money can go to­wards some­thing like a com­mu­nity cen­tre. They don’t have a fa­cil­ity like that in Black­dog.”

A lo­cal panel will de­cide how to use the money and char­ity man­age­ment firm Foun­da­tion Scot­land will be the ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Natalie Ghazi, Vat­ten­fall’s lo­cal li­ai­son of­fi­cer, said: “Over the last cou­ple of years we have been work­ing with lo­cal stake­hold­ers and com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions to shape the £3m Un­lock Our Fu­ture Fund so it de­liv­ers on the needs of lo­cal peo­ple. The fund launch gives groups the op­por­tu­nity to sub­mit in­no­va­tive, sus­tain­able and fos­sil-free project pro­pos­als that will ben­e­fit com­mu­ni­ties. To sup­port ap­pli­cants we have rolled out a se­ries of ap­pli­ca­tion drop-in ses­sions to fur­ther ex­plain the vi­sion for this change-mak­ing fund.”

The ses­sions are due to take place at Balme­die, In­verurie, Stone­haven, Fraser­burgh and Aberdeen through­out Jan­uary, and the clos­ing date for ap­pli­ca­tions is April 15. The first pay­ments are ex­pected to made in the sum­mer

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL: The Aberdeen Bay devel­op­ment had its ob­jec­tors but now lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are in line to ben­e­fit

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