Commissioned over the summer by one of the UK’s leading wind farm developers, RWE npower renewables, consultancy.coop have produced a detailed survey and report on the needs and opportunities of the local community. This local opinion will be used to shape the Wind Farm’s Community Benefit Fund
Sustainable employment opportunities, improving community facilities and providing a better communications infrastructure, came out top in the survey of the Brechfa Forest region, which was designed to find out what wind farm windfalls should be spent on in the future.
The Brechfa Forest Community Profiling report was published in August 2013 identified the overall local priority as ‘encouraging a sustainable local economy which maintains community life, where everyone can enjoy fair access to employment, housing and other services’, as well as several key emerging themes.
The report is a summary of opinion and comment made by over 135 residents and 38 local organisations in response to nine key questions posed as part of the community profiling research. Each question related to how community funds linked to the Brechfa Forest wind farms could best be used to support the area.
Local people were invited to participate in the region-wide event through the completion of both online and hard copy questionnaires and by attending 3 informal drop in sessions in Llansawell, Pencader and Brechfa.
Moving forward, RWE npower renewables will consider the report’s recommendations as to how best support Brechfa Forest communities and the wider region in light of the recent Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm planning consent. Once fully operational the wind farm will deliver a Community Funding Package in the region of £560,000 per annum, index linked and dependant on final installed capacity and available annually for the life time of the development. Furthermore, if Brechfa Forest East Wind Farm gains planning approval, further additional funding in the region of £240,000 could also become available.
Kathryn Harries, RWE npower renewables’ Community Investment Officer, said:
“The aim of the Community Profile was to consider the needs, issues and opportunities facing the communities that neighbour the consented Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm and the proposed Brechfa Forest East site. This profile considers how the Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Community Investment Fund can best be used to benefit both the communities that neighbour the site and the wider region.”
Speaking on the potential impact of the fund, Mrs Harries said:
“The consultants that undertook the community profile concluded that the community funding available from our Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm will provide ‘a generation of investment which can potentially reap long term benefits. We are committed to using the results of the community profile to work closely with both key stakeholders and local communities to develop a structure for the distribution of the funds that will ensure that these funds create a positive legacy for the area”.
Key findings are discussed in-depth in the Brechfa Forest Community Profile, which available for download here, Brechfa Forest Community Survey