Communities in East Renfrewshire have received more than £2.5m less from the Whitelee Windfarm fund than those in neighbouring authorities.

That’s despite the region shouldering much of the disruption during the construction and ongoing maintenance of the site.

Now an Eaglesham councillor has urged council chiefs to renegotiate a multi-million pound deal for the area.

Conservative councillor, Jim McLean, told the East Kilbride News: “This is where the windfarm started and there are a lot of events on here.

“Renegotiating the deal is a must. The deal we have just now is pretty pants.

“If there was more money available, a lot more people would see the benefits.”

A report looking into the windfarm over the last 10-years showed that East Ayrshire received £5.1m since the windfarm was opened.

That’s compared to £2.5m for East Renfrewshire and £1.5million for South Lanarkshire over the decade.

Eaglesham’s Whitelee Windfarm was targeted by robbers

 

The wind farm consists of 215 turbines, 100 of which are in East Ayrshire, 42 in South Lanarkshire, and 34 per cent (73) in East Renfrewshire.

During construction of the windfarm, Eaglesham Moor and the village of Eaglesham were used heavily by a large volume of vehicles of all sizes.

Now, entry to Whitelee, the visitor centre and cycle station, are all accessed via the Eaglesham Moor, with a new ‘super battery’ to store the energy based in the East Renfrewshire side too.

Yet the area receives less than half of what East Ayrshire does in terms of funding.

Councillor McLean added: “If that’s what East Ayrshire are getting, then this deal seriously needs looked at.

“The council have this fund, they run it and they manage it. The Conservative Group are still looking at putting pressure on and bringing it up again.

“It’s better for everybody if we speak to Scottish Power. They are not adverse to doing a deal because they have done it with East Ayrshire.”

The windfarm was officially opened by former First Minister, Alex Salmond, in May 2009 but the site was generating power more than a year before that, supplying power to the electricity grid in January 2008.

 

The largest on-shore wind farm in the United Kingdom and second biggest in Europe, it has a total capacity of 539 megawatts (MW), with the average of 2.5 MW per turbine.

According to the report, the original community benefit fund is paid at a rate of £1000/MW installed/year.

However, when the windfarm went into extension phase one and phase two, the community benefit fund was awarded at a rate of £2500/MW installed/year in a deal given exclusively to East Ayrshire Council.

Councillor McLean’s concerns are backed by the Eaglesham and Waterfoot Community Council who say they are “keen” to find out more about the disparity in payments.

Chairman Thomas Henderson said: “Fairness and transparency are critical in such matters to avoid any confusion.

“We would welcome a renegotiation of funding for East Renfrewshire that balances matters accordingly.”

East Ayrshire Council confirmed that an agreement was reached between Scottish Power Renewables and the three councils that the community benefit payment per MWH would be £1000 based on 25 turbines.

Following the extension, the community benefit payments for the Whitelee Extensions turbines is now £2500 per MWH.

South Lanarkshire Council said they had ‘around a fifth’ of the turbines and understood why they had a fifth of the East Ayrshire amount.

A spokeswoman for East Renfrewshire Council said: “We are committed to ensuring this fund continues to benefit many groups and projects in Eaglesham and the surrounding community.”

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/east-renfrewshire-receives-25m-less-18849649


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