The Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse MSP has officially opened the Kirknewton Green Room, a zero energy development built by Kirknewton Community Development Trust (KCDT). The Green Room was part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community West Lothian Leader 2008 – 2013 programme who contributed £120,000 to the project.
The project is a key part of the Kirknewton Community Development Plan 2012-2104, which was based on a community consultation in 2011. Over 500 people, 25% of the community,participated in the consultation.
Kirknewton Community Development Trust invested £30,000 in the project and over £10,000 worth of volunteer hours. The running of the Green Room and the work of the Development Trust has been supported by a Big Lottery Scotland grant of £266,000 for the next three years. This includes the employment of a new Youth and Volunteer Co-ordinator and Finance and Administration Officer, both of who support local groups and projects.
The future sustainability for the building and the project will come from a ground breaking community benefit and investment opportunity KCDT have negotiated with wind farm developer EFRG Fauch Hill. The community, who backed the development by 65% in an independent survey, are expecting the announcement of the public enquiry shortly
Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said,
“Climate Change is possibly the biggest threat we face as a global community and Scotland has shown international leadership on this issue with the world’s most challenging legislation and statutory annual targets. Global action is important, but so is local initiative – and community projects like the Kirknewton Green Room typify the innovation we are increasingly seeing across Scotland. The Green Room not only creates a space for individual and social development and empowerment but also raises the bar with regard to energy demand reduction and energy efficiency. The people of Kirknewton can feel justifiably proud of the Green Room and I hope other communities can take inspiration from what they’ve achieved.”
Chair of the Trust Stewart McKenna said,
“If we are to deliver a genuinely sustainable community then we have the capital resource of people but lack the other resource which is long-term reliable funding” With the funding that has been agreed from a local wind-energy proposal we will own assets and have 25 years of quality funding
Scotland’s people and its renewable resources are two of our greatest assets. In combination they form a powerful, positive force and will help us to deliver a more resilient local democracy, better able to make decisions for itself.
Stewart McKenna, who chairs KCDT, predicted that the social and environmental benefits to local people from Fauch Hill would be “enormous”. It was a hard-won victory that others could learn from.