Details of a £750,000 community investment fund have emerged as an energy firm prepares to install a ten turbine wind farm.
E.ON pledged [pounds]600,000 towards local environmental projects when it announced plans for its 25 megawatt wind farm at Butterwick Moor, near Sedgefield, in 2007.
However, at a community liaison group meeting recently, the firm said the fund could be as much as [pounds]30,000 a year over the project’s 25year lifespan, bringing the total to [pounds]750,000.
The fund will be administered by the Durham Community Foundation and priority will be given to applications three miles from the site, but applications from a ten-mile radius will also be considered.
The cash has been earmarked for environmental projects, but Dudley Waters, who sits on the group for Sedgefield Town Council, said he hoped E.ON would broaden the criteria.
Councillor Waters said: “I was mayor when the planning application was in for this project and I had the difficult job of chairing a public meeting about it and I would say almost 100 per cent of the people there were against it.
“People call these funds bribery, but the wind farms are a reality and we have to make the most of it.”
Coun Waters said an existing three-turbine wind farm near Trimdon was generating [pounds]4,500-a-year in community investment and a seven turbine site near Sedgefield was worth [pounds]11,000 a year.
Coun Waters said: “There is a formula the energy companies use to assess how much money goes to the community and the amount is related to how much energy is generated.
“There are proposals for another wind farm at Spring Lane, near Sedgefield, but even with all this money people don’t want the turbines.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for E.ON confirmed the construction of the wind farm at Butterwick Moor is moving into another phase next month.
Foundations and cabling have been laid and the site will soon start taking delivery of the turbines.
Villagers can expect about two deliveries a week throughout next month. The deliveries of the turbines will be accompanied by a police escort.
The site is expected to start generating electricity by the end of October and be fully operational by the end of November.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding