Three areas to benefit from wind farm

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AN AGREEMENT has been reached which will see three local communities benefit from a turbine at the proposed Corse Hill Wind Farm.

A planning application for the seven-turbine farm between Arbroath and Carnoustie is currently going through Angus Council after being lodged by West Coast Energy.

When the plans were revealed last year, it was announced nearby communities could benefit from a turbine, with profits given to local projects.

The former chief executive of Angus Council, David Sawers, independently headed a community benefit forum to discuss and determine who should benefit.

And at Angus College on Monday, an agreement was legally enshrined in writing within a Memorandum of Understanding signed by three nominated signatories from Arbroath Community Council, Carnoustie Community Council and Panbride, Easthaven, Arbirlot Community Environments (PEACE) and West Coast Energy.

At the forum’s last meeting on April 24, they decided that the three local communities should be entitled to an equal share of the net profits accruing from the community turbine over the 25-year lifespan of the project should planning consent be granted.

The community turbine is likely to generate annual community benefit funds of between £40,000 to £65,000 during the first three years of electricity generation, rising to between £300,000 and £500,000 in years 16 to 25 as the costs associated with the development are paid off, without any financial risk or liability to the communities.

Now that the agreement has been ratified, Mr Sawers intends to submit the Memorandum to Angus Council with a request for inclusion in a Section 75 legal agreement should planning permission be granted.

And community leaders in the areas set to benefit are happy with the agreement.

Mike Cosans, chair of Arbroath Community Council, said:“ We are pleased that the three groups nearest to the proposed site have agreed to go forward on an equal basis.

“Arbroath Community Council looks forward to continuing to work with West Coast Energy and the other community groups to get the best for the people in our town should the project be consented”.

While Jim Simpson, chair of Carnoustie Community Council, said: “On behalf of the people of Carnoustie and community action groups in Carnoustie, the community council was eager to ensure the best deal going forward, and we believe that a fair outcome has been agreed with the two other community groups.

And Gregor McGillivray, representing PEACE, added: “PEACE represents the rural communities of Panbride, Easthaven and Arbirlot adjacent to the site location.

“The collaborative has worked very hard to have the voices of these small rural communities heard and have managed to negotiate an equal share of the benefits as the more distant urban communities.

“The PEACE collaborative has already had benefits by enabling new social networks to be established which helps to build community resilience and support structures.”