October 6, 2014 | Community News
A member of the Scottish Youth Parliament has backed proposals for a new wind farm development in Dumfries and Galloway.
Samuel Glendinning, 19, MSYP for Galloway and West Dumfries has voiced his support for the proposed Knockendurrick Wind Farm, east of Gatehouse of Fleet, pointing towards increased employment opportunities and local investment as the major benefits.
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The budding politician, who is also President for Dumfries and Galloway College and currently studying for an HND in Business, is encouraged by the plans for the seven turbine development and confident that it would bring a breath of fresh air for the young people living in the area.
Samuel has also been impressed by wind farm developer Banks Renewables’ commitment to engaging with and investing in the local community.
Samuel said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to kick start a programme of regeneration for Dumfries and Galloway.
“Through my work as a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and President of Dumfries and Galloway College, I see on a day to day basis that youth unemployment remains a big concern.
“Young people are always looking for more employment prospects locally, but there are simply so few opportunities that many are forced to move away in search of jobs. Having been born and bred in Dalbeattie that is certainly something I do not want to do and would far rather see more jobs created within the region.”
“Not only would the wind farm development open up job opportunities in the construction and renewables sector, what’s also extremely encouraging is that Banks are committed to investing in training programmes. This could provide a real lifeline for many of the young people struggling to get a first step on the career ladder.”
Banks Renewables Community Partnership approach would see local people share 3% of the site’s gross revenue, which could be worth upward of £2.975 million over the 25 year life time of the development.
This money would be directed into projects identified and backed by local people like Samuel and also Dumfries and Galloway Council to deliver targeted employment and training initiatives.
The local community’s share of wind farm revenues could also be invested to improve the community infrastructure, deliver major environmental projects and provide funding for community groups.
Local firms are also set to benefit thanks to Banks Renewables commitment to using them wherever possible and it is estimated that this would inject at least £5 million into the local economy.
Examples of contracts that would be required include construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fencing, fabrication, accommodation, aggregates, utilities, professional services, hospitality and many more services.
If granted planning permission, Knockendurrick Community Wind Farm would also make an important contribution towards meeting Scotland’s overarching renewable energy targets of 50% by 2015 and 100% by 2020. By harnessing wind power, the site has the potential to provide enough clean, green energy for up to 14,000 homes.
Samuel added: “Climate change is no longer something we can ignore and is going to become an even bigger issue for my generation.
“With the recent climate change marches taking place across the country it’s clear that people are waking up to the fact that action needs to be taken now and I would be delighted to see Dumfries and Galloway leading the way by supporting Knockendurrick Wind Farm.”
Hamilton based, Banks Renewables, submitted a planning application for Knockendurrick Wind Farm, which could generate up to 23.8MW of energy to Dumfries and Galloway Council in October 2013.
Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “It’s fantastic to see the passion that Samuel has for the Knockendurrick Community Wind Farm.
“It is so important that young people are involved in the discussions around the project as it could present tangible long-lasting benefits for them and their future families.
“At a time when public sector cuts are biting deep, we hope that the opportunities the wind farm could bring to young people like Samuel will be brought to fruition by local councillors making the best decision for the area.”