The energy giant behind a controversial north-east wind farm will offer £3 million to the community.

Vattenfall, which operates the 11-turbine Aberdeen Bay development, will open the first applications for the community benefit fund payment today.

The company announced it will invest £150,000 each year into communities and organisations over the 20-year lifespan of the project through the Unlock Our Future Fund. Local woman Edna Booth, who fought against the wind farm and the disruption the substation caused Blackdog, said she was pleased the community would get something back.

She said: “Although I was disappointed in the way they (Vattenfall) handled a lot of things – we have had construction lorries going up and down our roads for two years – I’m very pleased they are putting money back into the community. I’m also very happy with the landscaping work that has been done at the substation as well, it was something I was quite worried about but they have made a very good job of it.”

Belhelvie Community Council member, David Wallace, expressed hopes a portion of the funding which has been ringfenced for the people of Blackdog could go towards the creation of a new hall in the village.

He said: “Residents have really had to put up with a lot of disruption, and I am hopeful the money can go towards something like a community centre. They don’t have a facility like that in Blackdog.”

A local panel will decide how to use the money and charity management firm Foundation Scotland will be the administrator.

Natalie Ghazi, Vattenfall’s local liaison officer, said: “Over the last couple of years we have been working with local stakeholders and community organisations to shape the £3m Unlock Our Future Fund so it delivers on the needs of local people. The fund launch gives groups the opportunity to submit innovative, sustainable and fossil-free project proposals that will benefit communities. To support applicants we have rolled out a series of application drop-in sessions to further explain the vision for this change-making fund.”
The sessions are due to take place at Balmedie, Inverurie, Stonehaven, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen throughout January, and the closing date for applications is April 15. The first payments are expected to made in the summer

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