The first payment of £45,000 has been handed over to Preston and Abbey St Bathans Community Trust (PACT) team from the Aikengall II Community Wind Farm fund.
Aikengall II Community Wind Farm, set high on the eastern fringes of the Lammermuirs on the border of East Lothian and Scottish Borders, will provide over £7.5m to its host communities throughout its operational life.
Preston and Abbey St Bathans Community Council is one of the five host community councils that will now receive an equal share of the £250,000 annual community funding from the wind farm.
Since the first wind farm at Aikengall became operational in 2009, BeGreen, Community Windpower’s energy advice centre in Dunbar, has donated over £1m and going forward it will continue to receive £50,000 annually.
Wendy Reid, chair of PACT said. ‘We are delighted that we have now reached this important stage in the benefit cycle and look forward to working with Community Windpower – this cash injection will kick start the village hall project and allow the ambitions of the community to be fulfilled.
“The fund is now open via our web site and we welcome applications from community groups or individuals from our local area to carry out projects that will benefit the wider community or provide environmental improvements.”
The fund can be accessed through the PACT web site – www.pactrust.org.uk – and using the Aikengall II Wind Farm tab from the ‘Grant Scheme’ menu.
Rob Fryer, director of CWL added: “We have been active in the area for a number of years through our wind farms and our BeGreen initiative based in Dunbar and are delighted that folk in Abbey St Bathans can now access their own fund.
“We are looking forward to working with the other host communities around the wind farm to progress their own community funds in the coming months. It is great that the host communities can see tangible benefits in their areas, provided from the wind farm on the hill. This is in addition to the economic benefits during the construction and the environmental benefits during operation; the turbines should be seen as a symbol of a low carbon economy.
“Aikengall IIa is due to be constructed in 2019 and will further increase the economic, community and environmental benefits to the area.”
Preston and Abbey St Bathans Community Council is the first to open their fund for Aikengall and the other four will follow in due course.