Managing community funds

Management by a local authority

Some funds are managed by a local authority. Examples in the Scottish Central Belt include South Lanarkshire Council which distributes income from the SSE owned Clyde Wind Farm and the Scottishpower renewables owned Whitelee Wind Farm where the benefit extends to three local authority areas.

The community may be required to:

  • input into community consultation by the council
  • sit on a decision making panel
  • apply to the council for the grant funding

This approach requires little community input into the management and distribution of income, so the community has little control. This option is perhaps more suitable for community benefit funds from larger renewables schemes which will impact a larger number of communities.

Scottishpower renewables Whitelee Windfarm

The Scottishpower renewables owned 140 turbine Whitelee Windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, 20 miles south of Glasgow, is Europe’s largest onshore wind farm covering an area of 55 km2. It lies within the three local authority areas of East Renfrewshire (72 turbines), South Lanarkshire (43 turbines) and East Ayrshire (25 turbines). Construction began in 2006 and has been completed in three phases.

Different levels of community benefit were agreed during the various phases. Each council administers the distribution of their share of the community benefit fund, supporting a wide variety of projects. The criteria for funding and eligibility varies slightly between councils. Applicants are eligible within a given radius of the windfarm and can be either a community group or organisation, a trust or cooperative, public organisation or agency or a business or trading enterprise offering a service benefitting local communities. Priority is given to larger capital projects focussing on environmental improvement, education and training, recreation, leisure, sustainable development to tourism and local enterprise. However one council also has a local grant scheme for one off, smaller community- based projects of less than £5,000 and up to 100% of total eligible costs.

Additional benefits include recreational access over 70km of trails for cycling, walking and horse riding
and a visitor centre run by Glasgow Science Centre.

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