Nevertheless, I agree that affected communities should see some tangible benefit from local wind farms as happens with any commercial development. This is why National Wind Power led the way in voluntarily establishing community funds around our wind farms, first in Wales at Cemmaes, Llangwyryfon, Bryn Titli and shortly at Carno, and also at new projects elsewhere in Britain. These funds are allocated from production revenue to the elected representatives of the community at parish, district or county level. In rural areas where wind farms have been developed these funds represent a very substantial increase in spending on local facilities and have supported, in non-partisan ways, schools, teaching materials, playgrounds, churches, community halls, girl guides, students, daffodil planting and so on. This support has been acknowledged in these areas as helping to maintain the fabric of the rural community. Surely Tony Burton will appreciate the need for this, particularly for local schoolchildren where our future as a society lies.
There is, of course, the option of community shareholding which works well in Denmark from its historical co-operative roots. But this approach has inherent difficulties for multi-million pound wind farms, although there are ways to accommodate these. We and other developers are considering how to involve the (very) small investor.
Another aspect of local benefit -- arguably the major aspect -- is the capital investment in a community. For each wind farm several millions of pounds are pumped into local or regional companies during construction and, in the longer term, even more goes into maintenance jobs, rentals and the like. All of this represents substantial local income to maintain the rural economy. With this in mind, wind turbine manufacturers -- particularly those from Denmark currently looking at the UK market -- can help. They need to look hard at the UK content of their turbines and consider whether they could do more for regional component sourcing or assemble. Contracts placed in Britain translate into public support in Britain. The best way to influence public and political opinion is indigenous manufacture.
From Peter Hinson, Development Manager, National Wind Power, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, UK