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


  1. Thank goodness the WLDC have shown the guts to prevent this planting of metallic forests along the slopes of the Pentland Hills

  2. Stewart, the opinion poll enabled only 18% of the community to express their opinion. There was no opportunity for debate beforehand enabling those whose lives would be badly damaged by the project to put their case to the “voters”. This was not a whole-population referendum with legal force, it was a snapshot of opinion, unmoderated by any careful consideration of all the issues.

    The local authority was not disregarding the well-considered opinions of a community, it was disregarding a survey with a small turnout rushed in to suit the applicant’s timetable.

    It would benefit Kirknewton to provide a funding source independent of taxation to support KCDT’s administration staff long-term, but not at such huge cost to a minority’s lives and livelihoods. The particular form of renewable energy proposed produces intermittent power at relatively low density. It would require 40 projects of the size of Fauch Hill – really a 23MW average output, not the 69MW peak output advertised – to equal the output of a single large-scale power station, and even then the comparison is difficult because of one simple fact. The wind stops. Sometimes for an hour in a local area, sometimes for a day across Scotland, or the whole of Northern Europe. The National Grid won’t tolerate wind generators above 20% for that reason, but all that wind power effectively needs to be backed up by fast-start carbon-fuelled generating plant. There is no grid-scale storage technology available in the foreseeable future to fix that problem.

    One respondent estimated his family would be put £1/2 million into negative equity if the project went ahead. That’s not something these small family businesses can survive. Hopefully the Planning Committee has decided it is not right to potentially destroy the lives of a small number of families in order to deploy a technology of disputed value in solving the carbon problem. Even where it does help to fund useful community groups.

    We’ll have to see what happens if the developers appeal to the Scottish Government.

    • Lets not forget the survey was conducted after a year of information and debate in the public domain and, as with most things, people may or may not have got engaged in that debate.

      From the sample returned (355 people) it will be +/-4.7% accurate if the whole population of Kirknewton returned their postal application or did the survey online. Everyone had the chance to return their postal application or do the survey online and it was their democratic right not to engage in the process. The result may change (up or down) as the debate goes on.

      Alternatively we could have just got 8 of our own unelected community council members to make a decision on behalf of the whole of Kirknewton on such a major development?

      KCDT and the Community Council welcome a public enquiry, if it is to go ahead, as the whole community voice will be truly represented, heard, considered, and treated with the respect it deserves on this issue.

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