Multipath (cycling/walking) route update


For background on this update check this link

Well since going “public” with the Selm Muir Multipath Proposal  on the 3rd of April I thought it best to give you all a wee update of what’s been going on before we all head off for our summer holidays:

– through the Kirknewton Development Trust I offered to meet and discuss with most of the people who had raised concerns on the proposal. After calling one and meeting with another initial feedback was that they were supportive of the proposal going forward as long as their concerns were taken in to consideration. People had also contacted the Forestry Commission directly and some of their concerns had been addressed.

– some of the feedback on the website had contained some pertinent points that have been noted and will be raised further down the consultation.

– I met with the landowner Robin Miller and discussed our off road route proposal. He was supportive of the idea but unable to assist with the route on his land at this time.

– We are waiting to hear back from the Forestry Commission with regards to organising a meeting to discuss the proposals further focussing on the short term and long term objectives of the project.

– I met with Charles Wellwood who has shown support for the Off Road route. He still has to consult with his son and shepherd but has agreed that a route over his land past Potter Around, up the old drovers road and across to Leyden Road just up from the bridge on the west side of Selm Muir may be possible.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated and if anyone is about over summer and would like to meet up please let me know and we could try and arrange something.

Duncan McCool

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Kirknewton opinion not represented in Fauch Hill vote


The Community Council and Development Trust of Kirknewton have today expressed disappointment at West Lothian Council’s Executive vote to not support the Fauch Hill Wind Farm Development at West Colzium and Crosswoodburn, despite Kirknewton announcing support after their independent public consultation showed over 60% support for the development.  A similar consultation in West Calder and Harburn showed 58% support.

Hugh Hunter Gordon, Chair of the Community Council said today, “I would have preferred for the whole council to have been able to discuss the application, considering the minority status of the current administration.  If this development does go to public enquiry I hope it will get the due consideration it deserves in terms of the local and national policy on renewable energy, the landscape of the Pentland Park and the support given by the Kirknewton community.”

 

Stewart McKenna, Chair of the Kirknewton Development Trust, added, “I am disappointed that the firmly expressed views of our community seem to count for nothing in relationship to significant planning matters that are within our community boundary. It is only hoped that the Scottish Government will take greater cognisance of our work in helping to express the wishes of this community.

We approached West Lothian planners as a community seeking to have access to wind-energy some six years ago, looking for an outlet for the investment that this community seeks to establish becoming a more sustainable entity.

We want a local authority to work with, not one that we constantly have to fight over issues where a community seeks to better itself.

The question we must ask ourselves is “Who’s community is it, and who governs us with any insight into the wishes and aspirations of its populace? “

Statement from Kirknewton Community Development Trust


On behalf of KCDT I am disappointed that the firmly expressed views our community seem to count for nothing in relationship to significant planning matters that are within our community boundary. It is only hoped that the Scottish Government will take greater cognisance of our work in helping to express the wishes of this community.

We approached West Lothian planners as a community seeking to have access to wind-energy some six years ago, and were advised to set up a liaison with the Fauldhouse community. This we did, yet despite two years of dialogue and much help given to Fauldhouse we remain without any outlet for the investment that this community seeks to establish in becoming a more sustainable entity.

We want a local authority to work with, not one that we constantly have to fight over issues where a community seeks to better itself.

It saddens me that all the work Powerdown and Tony Foster have done in forging closer bonds within our village cannot find a suitable long-term funding from renewable energy and must exist hand-to-mouth without any certainty of continuity of funds. Big lottery has faith in us, our villagers have faith in us but it would appear the WLC do not.

The question we must ask ourselves is “Who’s community is it, and who governs us with any insight into the wishes and aspirations of its populace? ”

Stewart McKenna for Kirknewton Community Development Trust

Fauch Hill Wind Farm – Community Benefit update


Fauch Hill Sustainable Energy – Proposed Community Benefits Package

Changes have been made to the proposed community benefit for the Fauch Hill Wind Farm.  It should be noted Community Council representations to the Scottish Government and to West Lothian Council are based on the results of the Kirknewton Community Consultation conducted in January 2012 by IBP Strategy and Research. 

These revised benefits are based on continued dialogue with the Kirknewton Development Trust and now meet a number of our suggestions.  These include an increase from £4000 to £5000 per installed MW capacity of the windfarm, an increase in the local infrastructure fund from £276,000 to £330,000 (although short of the local residents suggested figure) and the opportunity for the Development Trust to invest in this renewable energy project.

Fauch Hill Sustainable Energy proposes the following Community Benefit Package for the wind farm in West Lothian:

a) A Community Benefit of £5,000 per MW installed  for 22 turbines of 3MW capacity. This represents an annual payment of  £330,000, to be paid for the 25 year operating life of the wind farm, equivalent to £8.25million in total. This benefit will be split between the host community councils, Kirknewton and West Calder and Harburn, and the wider communities for project s such as skills training opportunities and the Pentland Hills Regional Park. The first payment will be made in the year that approval of the wind farm permit is received, and the benefits will be divided as follows:

  1. Kirknewton Community Council – 30%
  2. West Calder and Harburn Community Council – 30%
  3. West Lothian Development Trust – 40%

b) Local infrastructure fund equivalent to one year’s community benefit i.e. £330,000 to be paid to those residences closest to the site, for energy efficiency projects.

c) The ability for the Development Trusts of local communities to invest in a community turbine giving them the opportunity to share in the ownership and success of the project. The investment by the Development Trusts will be offered on the following basis:

  1. Kirknewton Development Trust – 30%
  2. West Calder and Harburn Development Trust – 30%
  3. West Lothian Development Trust – 40%

The financing for each Development Trust’s interest in the community turbine may come from a number of sources, such as current funds held by the development trusts, matched funds received from lotteries such as the Big Lottery, the future community benefits to be paid under the scheme in (a) above, or future cash flow from the community turbine itself, or from private or public sector financing.

% Share of   Total Community Benefit Fund Community   Benefit Fund payable £ per year Total   Community Benefit Fund paid over 25 years % Share in   Community Turbine
Kirknewton   Development Trust  30% £99,000 £2.475million 30%
West Calder   and Harburn Community Trust 30% £99,000 £2.475million 30%
West Lothian   Development Trust 40% £132,000 £3.3million 40%
TOTAL 100% £330,000 £8.25million 100%

Mini Gala Event – 17th June, 12-3pm


You CAN have a gala burger after all this weekend!! Due to the gala being cancelled we have decided to have a mini gala event in the village hall tomorrow, Sunday 17th, 12-3pm (treat those dads on Fathers Day).  There will be a BBQ selling burgers and sausages, a chocolate fountain, ice cream, pocket money stall, face painting (hopefully if we can find a volunteer hint hint), music and most importantly we will also do the draw for the raffle with prizes including £200, vouchers for meals, beauty treatments and potter around. Hope to see you there. The football tournament and gala will hopefully be rescheduled for later in the “summer”.

Over 60% of Kirknewton Community support Fauch Hill Wind Farm development


The Community Council and Development Trust of Kirknewton have today made representations to support the Fauch Hill Wind Farm Developmentat 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 PlanningAuthority 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 andsignificant 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 today,“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 ourcommunity, 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 andthe 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 ofcommunity 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.

The IBP survey can be accessed at http://issuu.com/kirknewton/docs/fauch_hill_wind_farm_survey