The Community Council and Development Trust of Kirknewton have today made representations to support the Fauch Hill Wind Farm Development at West Colzium and Crosswoodburn after an independent consultation with their community.
On Monday 25th June the West Lothian Council executive will meet to consider the application, acting as the Planning Authority as defined in the statutory consultation procedures for a Section 36 planning application to Scottish Ministers (Consents Unit).
The Kirknewton community survey, conducted by IBP Strategy and Research, received 355 responses from an adult population of 2000. This suggests an accuracy of +/- 4.7%
The Community Council felt that such an important and significant decision should not be taken simply by the opinion of the community council nor by the research undertaken on the developer’s behalf. Substantial background information on the proposal was sent to every household with questions on renewable energy, onshore wind farms, the wind farm proposals and details of the potential community benefit package and investment opportunity in the development.
Chair of the Community Council Hugh Hunter Gordon said, “Wind farm developments are an emotive issue and usually those who shout loudest are heard. However when presented with all the facts the community of Kirknewton have overwhelmingly supported this development.
As members of the Community Council and the Development Trust I believe that it is now our duty to tell our fellow community councils, Local Authority councillors, MSPs and MPs that 91% of Kirknewton support the move to renewable energy, 65% support the location of the Fauch Hill Wind Farm location and there is a majority support for the proposal.”
He went on to say, “Based on a far greater sample of our community, the results of this consultation nevertheless reflect the community consultation undertaken by the developer. We have been fortunate to be able to ask our community their opinion and the facts are undisputed. We would urge other representative groups to use our consultation and the developer’s research, if they have been unable to undertake their own equivalent consultation, as the basis for any decisions they make in the name of their communities and West Lothian as a whole.”
The West Lothian Community Plan covers many aspects of community benefit as part of the planning agreement. The Community Benefit that is in the Fauch Hill Section 36 application enhances the local community of West Lothian, offers royalty advancements and environmental and recreational improvements. /
Kirknewton, along with West Calder and Harburn, being designated as HOST communities, will benefit especially from the community benefit arrangements, but so will West Lothian as a whole. A notable minority of the community closest to the windfarm may never feel community benefit is enough but the developer has undertaken special significant arrangements to help mitigate its impact to make improvements of energy efficiency to local housing and environmental and local infrastructure improvements. A further offer has been made to enable direct investment in the wind farm.