£400,000 wind farm windfall for West Lothian charities

Tuesday September 19th 2023


Black Law wind farm.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

Community centres, a group feeding the elderly and West Lothian’s school bank are among the charities which have benefited from £400,000 in wind farm windfall cash this year.

Since 2007 West Lothian Community Development Trust has been supporting communities in the county with money raised from wind farms.

The Trust was set up to administer community benefit payments from the wind farm developers at five sites.

In a report to the Economy, Community Empowerment and Wealth Building Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) Clare Stewart, Community Wealth Building Manager told councillors that a total of 18 organisations were awarded new grants by the trust in the last year, and the total value of these grants was £396,699.29.

Since 2007 a total of £2.8m has been awarded to 75 separate organisations

The five wind farms in West Lothian which provided community benefit payments to WLDT are Black Law, Pateshill, Harburnhead, Tormywheel and Pearie Law.

Community development trusts in West Calder and Fauldhouse and the Breich Valley and Whitburn receive annual payments of wind farm cash for their community projects which range from running community centres to specific events such as gala days and Christmas events.

Other beneficiaries this year included The Food Train’s Eat Well Buddy Project which supports around 300 local older people to remain in their own home for as long as possible by the provision of support to access a fresh varied diet. In January The Food Train was awarded £15,000 for the continued development of their Eat Well Buddy initiative.

The School Bank West Lothian provides new and as new school clothing and supplies for children in West Lothian who are in poverty. It was awarded £21,000 in November last year to support the continuation of their service to support young people and to launch additional projects.

Their aims are to help relieve poverty, enable equal access to education, and afford children dignity and self-respect. They work closely with schools and community groups in areas of high deprivation across West Lothian, such as Addiewell, Blackburn, Craigshill, Fauldhouse and Whitburn.

During the 12 months until end of April 2022 the School Bank West Lothian supported 1,344 children with a school uniform pack, which equates to an increase of 32% on the previous year and provided over 700 uniform packs for children returning to school in August 2022.

Mrs Stewart told councillors: “The West Lothian Development Trust has the potential to make a substantial difference to communities in West Lothian, both now and over the remaining lifespan of the wind farms. The West Lothian Development Trust, supported by council officers, will continue to ensure that the maximum benefit is obtained and distributed to support future regeneration opportunities in West Lothian.

The policy adopted by the council on the formation of the trust required that any community benefit received from wind farms should be distributed within six miles of the development (70% within three miles and the remaining 30% within six).

The trust membership is made up of a third of representatives from the council, a third from the local communities and up to a third from wind farm developers.

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