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

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11 thoughts on “Over 60% of Kirknewton Community support Fauch Hill Wind Farm development

  1. The 18% of residents of Kirknewton who responded voted overwhelmingly in favour of wind turbines that are unlikely to have any impact on their lives. The prposed wind farm is around five miles from the village.

    The turbine blades for each generator carve out an area the size of two Olympic-sized swimming pools in the sky. Yet each one, on average, will produce 1MW – less than one thousandth of the output of a current large generating station.

    The EFRG web page lies about this and claims the output for the 23 1MW turbines will be 69MW. The most optimistic estimates for wind generation are 33% of peak capacity and the measured operating figures for turbines in Scotland in the last few years significantly less than that.

    http://www.fauchhillsustainableenergy.com/

    “Fauch Hill Wind Farm will consist of 23 turbines with internal transformers, each with a maximum nominal capacity of 3MW, and with a maximum tip height of 125 metres. The total installed capacity will be 69MW, producing enough clean, green electricity to supply over 42,000 homes.”

    So the real figure is 14,000 homes. This vast industrial complex in a wild place will not produce enough unreliable power to cover the demand from Livingston alone.

    So around 20 square kilometers will produce 23MW of power on average. This power is intermittent. When storms hit, they will stop. When the wind stops for 30 minutes, they will stop. When the wind stops for 48 hours, eventually unless sufficient storage is installed, additional new fossil-fuel powered stations will be needed to take up the slack or the lights in hospitals, schools and other essential installations will go out.

    Schemes ten times that size would be needed for Edinburgh or at a rough guess, 2000 square kilometers to cover the population of Scotland. That does not count the dams which are currently the only means of storing backup power in sufficient volume to cover gaps in the wind. (Pumped storage dams cannot be built in Scotland because there are no more valleys conveniently available to flood. Alec Salmond has been talkng to the Norwegians recently about building such storage but it would be at least a decade before such a system could be brought online, and probably a lot longer.)

    The 18 or so homes within a relatively short distance of the 23 turbines at Fauch Hill (Colzium) will have local tourist businesses, their local environment, sleep patterns and possibly lives destroyed. Birdlife will be impacted – the turbine tips can move at 200mph – and all to produce intermittent unreliable low-density power. If the community survey – which was conducted without proper consultation with those most affected – counts in favour of the scheme this is a form of “mob rule” with a highly destructive, ineffective project being imposed on a few for the perceived, not real, benefit of the many.

    Man-made carbon output to the atmosphere needs to be reduced and reversed, as rapidly as possible. On-shore wind turbines are a wholly inadequate response to the problem and destroying human and wildlife habitability in vast areas of Scotland’s wild places is not the way to go, IMHO.

  2. Kirknewton residents and council will not be at all affected by this development but the developers are throwing a big chunk of money and a biased report in order to get a half hearted approval from a non affected population is tantamount to bribery.

    Local residents actually affected by the site are wholeheartedly opposed to the develoment but are being ignored.

    It would be good if the council actually protected the affected residents from harm

    • For the final report we asked for those responses immediately affected by the location of the windfarm to be given independent of the overall view. These comments were reported at community council, at a presentation at the Development Trust AGM and formed part of the representation report to Scottish Government.
      The decision to support the application based on the community consultation was reviewed at a further community council, with representations from those closest to the development. The vote remained in favour of supporting the general view of the overall Kirknewton community.

  3. Graham, the Community Council can’t protect you from anything. The only power it has is the statutory right to be consulted on planning applications. In this case it has chosen to follow the results of a community survey. But you’re right the CB (Community Bribe) payment is probably an influence on people. At £20-£30 per head per year, it shouldn’t be a huge influence eh?

    • Yeah but!!!
      When they are given a survey which says “we will spend lots of money improving Kirknewton if you let us build a wind farm in someone else’s back yard” I know what the answer is likely to be

      • The survey was conducted by an independent company who revised all literature and questions presented by the Community Council to avoid bias of any sort. Questions re renewable energy and this particular wind farm and location were asked specifically before any questions on what level of community benefit Kirknewton would receive.

  4. The Community Council have taken the bait. They have actually been clever in that they have considered where the bulk of their constituents are based and have decided that the grumbling of hte minority will not be heard out in the impacted areas. The majority of those that will receive this payoff / bribe are based well away from the proposed windfarm and most will not even be able to see it. Therefore its easy money.

    Such a shame that democracy has failed so spectacularly. Given I’m between KCC and H&WCCC, and therefore looking at the views and responses of both, I would be tempted to suggest a vote of no confidence in the KCC as they are clearly able to be bought.

    • The Kirknewton Community Council conducted an independent community consultation as they didn’t feel they could make a decision a decision based on the developers own community consultation or simply on their own opinion of wind farms. Approx only 26 responses were received following the developers two information days in Kirknewton. Statistically that is not a good representative sample from over 2000 residents. When this decision was made they knew the proposed levels of community benefit.

      The decision to conduct a community consultation was debated and passed by the Kirknewton Community Council. It cost over £3000 to undertake. It was conducted by an independent company who revised all literature and questions presented by the Community Council to avoid bias of any sort. Questions re renewable energy and this particular wind farm and location were asked specifically before any questions on what level of community benefit Kirknewton would receive.

      Every household was sent the information about the windfarm. We recieved 355 responses back online, py post and from door to door interviews.

      For the final report we asked for those responses immediately affected by the location of the windfarm to be given independent of the overall view. These comments were reported at community council, at a presentation at the Development Trust AGM and as part of the representations to Scottish Government.

      The decision to support the application based on the community consultation was reviewed at a further community council. The vote remained in favour of supporting the general view of the overall Kirknewton community.

  5. The survey was undoubtedly professionally conducted. At 18% response rate, this was a turnout that would make a local council election shameful, yet the result is being put forward as “Kirknewton Community think this” as if it were the result of a referendum. A referendum or general/local election not only has a much larger turnout, it is also taken much more seriously and campaigning to discuss the issues can take place beforehand. None of this happened with the survey which was completed within three weeks of being announced.

  6. All referendums carry the risk of ignoring minority interests. This is clearly the case for this survey. The majority saw only a small financial plus side for the community with no downside from a wind farm five miles away. The minority who live much closer to the proposed plant see damage to their local environment up to and including loss of livelihoods and deaths of wildlife.

  7. Response from the Mackman’s of Colzium:

    A young family with 6 very young children who will be living in the shadow of all these turbines –

    We will be affected by these turbines more than anyone.

    We invested all we ever had – over 30 years of extremely hard work into buying Colzium – to bring up our family in a beautiful if wild place – close enough to Edinburgh to provide a balanced upbringing.

    As far as we are aware we have never received anything in the post or by any other means of communication from the Community Council – we cannot see how this survey can be a fair representation of our views.

    Purely on a financial note If this goes ahead – we could be bankrupted – the Drop in the value of our farm Could leave us in £500,000 of negative equity or more.

    When we applied for a minor conversion of a barn in 2008 not visible to anyone from anywhere – it was rejected – how on earth can this go ahead in an area of such natural beauty in West Lothian?

    Please helps us to stop this.

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