Community Benefit is the term used to describe the voluntary contribution made by a wind power developer to the local community affected by development to mitigate against the long term impact on the environment.
Sounds promising doesn’t it? Especially when the sums bandied about are in the several thousands of pounds per year. But STOP, THINK. Remember the old adage, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Wind power developers do not normally live in your locality, they have no stake in your environment or your quality of life except as a business venture. They want to capitalise on local assets for their own and their shareholders financial ends and to appease the community they offer a financial incentive and pass off unproven claims relating to the efficiency of the turbines and CO² reductions.
Make no mistake they are not your friends or benefactors and their claims have been widely disputed.
There is a timely warning from D. Davis of Inverness-shire reported in the Northern Times of 3 February 2011, entitled Our money is being dribbled back behind a façade of ‘generosity’. The title says it all and her letter exposes the flaws in the system whereby the community believes it is getting a substantial reward but in effect people are paying for it through their electricity, which, when the sums are properly worked out, amounts to a paltry sum per person. Her figures show that in relation to a promised £8 million over 25 years in relation to a wind factory of 28 turbines of 150 metres high, the per capita annual sum amounted to just £9.60.
The saddest and least publicised effect of proposed wind farms is the devastating impact on the local community causing division, anger and resentment. TW 312 already knows of long time friends no longer speaking, of local residents who want to object but are worried rifts would be caused between them and their neighbours and friends and people who fear it may affect their job position or business. This, before the turbines arrive.
In the Galloway News this week (10/2/11) appeared a thoughtful and succinct letter on the division in communitities that the benfits themselves could invoke. Our thanks to Alan for allowing us to include this on the website:-
As the wind farm controversy rolls on, an aspect hitherto overlooked comes to mind. Developers are keen to promote the so-called benefits to communities affected by wind farms and groups of turbines, in the form of financial support, such as grants for village halls, education officers and other weird and wonderful goodies.
The truth is, however, that rather than benefitting these communities, the onset of a wind farm causes divisions and conflicts in its locality. Those in a position to exploit the funds in one or other way will soon became alienated from their erstwhile neighbours and friends who find their landscape or even view from a loved family home destroyed for decades by 100m+ high metal structures.
Some locals, whose homes are not in direct view or proximity of the turbines may feel relaxed about their presence, while others see their property devalued, and more difficult to sell. Others may be affected by vibration, noise or flicker.
Such pressures on rural communities will engender division, resentment and anger for generations – not surely a healthy situation for the region.
Communities would be advised to reject the bribes offered by wind farm developers for the better good of everyone, bearing in mind the growing evidence that wind generation is incapable of meeting Scotland’s power needs"
"Divide and Conquer" – a technique the wind farm industry has, sadly, had time to perfect
Some communitities recognise the value of their surroundings and reject the intended sweeteners. One such community down in Cornwall recently did this. See if you can guess how long it takes this particular company to produce these financial benefits!