Communuities should benefit from windfarms

ENERGY secretary Edward Davey has suggested that communities that host onshore wind farms could benefit from reduced electricity bills and investment in local infrastructure.

But local MP Mike Weir does not believe his plans go far enough.

Mr Davey’s comments came alongside the launch of a call for evidence aimed at ensuring that communities secure financial, social and environmental benefit from hosting onshore wind farms.

Mr Davey said: “Onshore wind has an important role to play in a diverse energy mix that is secure, low carbon and affordable. We know that two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind. But far too often, host communities have seen the wind farms but not the windfall.

“We are sensitive to the controversy around onshore wind and we want to ensure that people benefit from having wind farms sited near to them.

“This new call for evidence will look at ways to reward host communities and ensure that wider investment, employment and social benefits are felt locally.”

Mr Weir stated: “Onshore wind farms form an important part of the renewable energy mix and we require to continue to develop them. This does not mean that every application should be granted and each should be looked at individually .

“It is vital that developers enter into meaningful discussions with local communities to try and reach the best possible outcome for all parties.”

He went on: “I am pleased that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is looking at the issue of community benefit. I believe that community benefit should be seen in a wider context and look, for example, at how such money can be used for job creation for young people in rural areas to address the drift of the young to the cities.

“I am also pleased to note that the department is looking at the cost of wind power. There is a great deal of misinformation around this issue and an independent appraisal would be welcome.”