Former council chief could lead Forum

FORMER chief executive of Angus Council, David Sawyers, has offered his services as an independent chairman of a Dodd Hill Community Benefit Forum.

The Forum has been created in order to provide a platform for community councils, locals and community groups to discuss a possible benefit package should plans to erect a windfarm at Dodd Hill be accepted.

Members of the Forum will decide upon the most suitable community benefit model for the area and determine the apportionment of funds and legal structure of the body.

It was initially agreed to bring the Forum into being following consultations with developers West Coast Energy (WCE) and Inverarity, Murroes and Wellbank and Tealing community councils.

Mr Sawyers has already made a successful contribution as Chair of the Benefit Forum at WCE’s Corse Hill project which is also in Angus.

A spokesman for WCE said: “The Corse Hill Wind Farm was recognised for their work with local communities, winning the Renewable UK award in the Community Engagement Category.

“The company were presented with the award for exceptional and innovative practice in community engagement and involvement having engaged extensively with the three local communities in relation to their offer of a community turbine, which would allow local schemes to share in the profits of the wind farm if consented.”

He continued: “We are committed to the principle that local communities should benefit financially from the generation of renewable energy in their area.

“The company is offering Tealing, Inverarity and Murroes and Wellbank community councils the opportunity to enter into a 10 per cent profit sharing arrangement if planning consent for the Dodd Hill application is granted.

“Over the 25 year life span of the wind farm the three communities stand to receive around £3million to distribute to worthy local schemes.

“WCE would secure all the necessary consents and finances without any financial liability or risk to communities.”

Plans have now been submitted to Angus Council detailing a five-turbine farm to be sited on farmland.

If plans are accepted the site will lie 3.5km north east of Tealing, 9.5km north of Dundee and 11km south of Forfar.

WCE held a number of public exhibitions detailing their plans in March this year and 60 members of the public attended to find out more and share their views.

The Dodd Hill project has met with some controversy since plans were first made known to the public.

With at least three other windfarm projects in the local area currently in the pipeline some residents have expressed fears that the locality will become saturated.

One resident, who wished not to be named, said: “I think there are just far too many windfarm applications for one corner of Angus and to be honest I find it a bit scary. I have concerns not only for the size of the wind turbines but also for the sheer quantity.

“I understand the need to save on electricity but I don’t understand why we need so many in one place.”

Plans have also been submitted to Angus Council for a development at Govals, which lies close to the A90 by Forfar and so far more than 30 residents have sent in letters of representation against the project.

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