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Community Benefits

A bridge to community empowerment

What are community benefits?

Community benefits are voluntary packages that businesses and developers provide to support communities. These can be financial or in-kind assistance, and both aim to empower communities to devise and deliver projects according to the needs and aspirations of the wider community.

Historically, they are a well-established, integral part of renewable energy development. Community benefits can vary in scale, sector and longevity enormously. Their impact in delivering community priorities can be life changing.

The opportunity

Local Energy Scotland figures highlight that community benefits from renewables provided around £25m in the last year alone to areas of benefit. Scotland has an active and engaged community sector, and with government commitments to community empowerment, community wealth building and a just transition, there is a focus on the potential community land and asset ownership offers in income generation - particularly from the natural capital marketplace.

Morvern Hydro 2

The power of community benefits from natural capital

Scotland offers potential for nature-based carbon offsetting to scale up through forestry, peatlands, soils and potentially the marine environment.

Natural capital markets could contribute to community wealth building including the use of community benefits as a means to engage communities and share wealth throughout the local economy.

Working with a range of partners, we've drawn together examples from across Scotland - showcasing how communities who have received various types of community benefits have managed and delivered a range projects. 

Download Community benefits - a bridge to progress

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Carbon Sequestration

Interested in the potential from carbon markets? Find out more about the potential value to communities in our research.

Carbon sequestration and community wealth building

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn - Galson Estate Trust

The impacts of community land ownership on the local economy

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Morvern Community Development Company

Find out what can be achieved when community is at the heart of local development

View case study

Shetland Amenity Trust

Shetland organisation with the islands' heritage at its core

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Island pioneers sharing learning in the local energy economy.

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Cumhachd Shlèite

Find out how the community has developed a scheme with environmental and community benefits.

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Soirbheas, a registered charity, work to strengthen and support the communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, through revenues from local renewable energy schemes.

View case study

Wind turbine

Tiree Development Trust

Community-led development at the heart of social and economic progress.

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Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust

Celebrating 10 years of community-led development

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Point and Sandwick Trust

How community-led wind energy is growing the biodiversity of the Outer Hebrides.

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Sanday Development Trust

A development trust since 2004

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rippled white sand beach

South West Mull and Iona Development

South West Mull & Iona Development was set up in 2010 to help this remote part of Scotland reach its full potential by consulting with the community and focussing on areas of improvement.

View case study

youngster looking intently at piece of wood

Sandwick Social and Economic Development

Wach our video to find out how the community of Sandwick are developing local and visitors services to sustain their community.

View case study



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