Wind farms power £2.4m funding to communities

Published: Monday 10 May 2021

This image shows a view of one of South Lanarkshire's windfarms with a snowy setting

Farmers clubs, community groups and football teams are among those to benefit from £2.4 million of funding.

The money, which comes from the Renewable Energy Fund (REF), administered by South Lanarkshire Council, was shared with a total of 162 South Lanarkshire projects during the last financial year.

Contributions are supported by 41 wind farm developments across the area, from the Clyde Wind Farm Fund, and community benefit contributions from six quarries. Together the awards made total £2,380,454 million.

In 2020/21 106 projects were supported by REF’s main funding stream the with total grants of £1,369,804 giving an average grant award of £12,950. A further 25 projects secured awards under a micro grant scheme offering community Councils or equivalent community organisations small grants of up to £500. In 2020/2021, 25 Community Councils or similar organisations such as resident associations and community trusts were awarded micro grants totalling £103,315.

The micro grants scheme was initially running for a two-year period but due to its success has now been made permanent.

The Clyde Wind Farm Fund (CWFF) saw 29 projects received a total of £889,605 under its main awards scheme and a further £18,230 in micro grants. Together that represents a total value of £907,835 in funding to communities from the CWFF. 

Chair of Community and Enterprise Resources Councillor John Anderson said: “Community benefits funding allows operating companies to contribute financially to the communities closest to their wind farms. In recent years it has become a highly successful source of support for a wide range of projects.

“In general the terms of community benefits funding define strict geographical limits to where the grants can be used. During the last year some relaxation of those rules was agreed which allowed funding to be made available to help with the community impact of the pandemic.”

The Covid-19 grants programme under the community benefits fund can call on a total of up to £800,000 in funding which is divided into £500,000 available in the defined community benefits areas and £300,000 that can be awarded anywhere in South Lanarkshire. To date £491,746 has been presented through 90 separate grants. The programme is still in operation and open to new funding applications.

The REF is supported by wind farms at the following locations in South Lanarkshire Andershaw, Auchrobert, Bank End Rig, Blacklaw, Blantyre Muir, Burnbrae, Calder Water, Climpy, Couplaw, Dungavel, Dykehead, Eastertown, Galawhistle, Garelwood, Greenwall, Greenhall View, Haspielaw, High Blackwood Yard, High Dyke, JJ’s Farm, Lampits, Letham, Millburn, Muirhall, Muirhall Extension, Middlemuir, Netherfauldhouse, Nether Kypeside, North Brackenridge, Nutberry, Pates Hill, Rench Farm, Tanhill, Upper Haywood, West Browncastle, Westtown, Whitehill, Whitelee, Woodlands, Yards Farm, Kypemuir.

REF supported projects in 2020/21 have included:

  • Blackwood Estate Community Association - Woodland Purchase
  • Carnwath Community Council - Community Facility Development
  • Climate Action Strathaven - Eco Travel eBikes
  • The Lanarkshire Family History Society - Book Publishing

Clyde Wind Farm Fund supported projects in 2020/21 have included:

  • Biggar Farmers Club - Biggar Sheep pens
  • Wiston Village Hall Association – Defibrillator
  • Leadhills Family Action Group - community allotment refurbishment
  • Symington Football Club - Feasibility Study
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