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Forum dissects windfarm fund claims

A forum has been set up to help baffled locals make sense of the Knockendurrick windfarm plans.

The group consists of community councillors from seven towns and villages.

Member Mike Edwards, of Gatehouse Community Council, said: “The windfarm people put a glossy spin on things. If you look at the data, sometimes it’s way out of proportion.

“Once you get into the technical side of things it can get very confusing. We are trying to present information in a way that’s straightforward and easy to understand.”

The forum will hold a roadshow explaining the plans next month.

One of the hot topics discussed will be the community windfarm fund that ties-in with the scheme.

The company behind the windfarm, Banks Renewables, is offering cash to towns and villages.

Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas, Gatehouse, Borgue, Tongland, Twynholm, Gelston and Ringford could receive a slice.

Banks Renewables claims communities could earn around £260,000 a year or £6.5 million over its lifespan.

But the forum believes residents should know the pros and cons before making a decision on whether to support the plans.

Mike added: “Fifty per cent of any cash we get will go straight to the council and once you take other things into consideration, the amount these communities will get will not be a lot. We want to help people understand the pros and cons.

“We have to find out what the communities want.”

The forum roadshow dates will be confirmed in the near future.

Meanwhile, MP Russell Brown has accused minister Fergus Ewing of ignoring local concerns about the high number of windfarm developments in the region.

The minister for energy, enterprise and tourism was in the area last week to deliver a speech on community windfarm funds. The conference was aimed at community councils and renewables developers.

But Mr Brown said the minister failed to meet people concerned about the high windfarm numbers.

He said: “By coming to the area to lecture people on the community benefits of wind farms, he is clearly only interested in one side of the argument.

“Many people see community benefit payments as little more than bribery but ultimately if it’s the only benefit communities get from having windfarms on their doorstep then it is important that communities make the most of it.”