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Kirknewton Community Council Survey of Kirknewton Community on Proposed Fauch Hill Wind Farm Overview Report February 2012


Contents

Page Summary of Key Findings 1.0

Background, Objectives and Methodology

1

2.0

Survey Findings

3

Respondent Profile

3

Views on Renewable Energy and Wind Farms in General

5

Views on Aspects of Fauch Hill Wind Farm Proposal

7

Support for Fauch Hill Wind Farm Proposal

12

Overall Views on the Proposal

15

APPENDICES (UNDER SEPARATE COVER) 1.0

Survey Questionnaire

2.0

Detailed Data Tables

3.0

Listing of Open-Ended Responses


SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS RESPONDENT PROFILE A small minority of respondents to the survey (4%, 15 respondents) live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed wind farm site; throughout this report, their specific views have been noted. The profile of respondents by age group is fairly broad with approximately even proportions of respondents being aged under or over 50. VIEWS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY AND WIND FARMS IN GENERAL The vast majority of respondents (91%) agree that society in general needs to move towards generating renewable forms of energy. 70% of respondents support, in principle, the use of onshore wind power as a renewable energy resource. VIEWS ON ASPECTS OF FAUCH HILL WIND FARM PROPOSAL West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is seen as an acceptable location for a wind farm by 65% of respondents; 16% think that it is not an acceptable location and 19% are undecided. A majority of respondents (57%) also indicate that the number of turbines (23) proposed for the site is an acceptable number; 19% think that this is not an acceptable number and 23% are undecided. The proposed distribution of the Community Benefit Fund is perceived to be reasonable by 66% of respondents; 14% do not perceive the proposed distribution of the Community Benefit Fund to be reasonable and 19% are undecided. OVERALL VIEWS ON FAUCH HILL WIND FARM PROPOSAL If the opportunity is found to be beneficial to the community, 64% of respondents are in favour of Kirknewton Community Development Trust investing in the wind farm. 13% are not in favour and 22% are undecided. Almost two thirds of respondents (64%) support the aspect of the proposal relating to a three year Community Benefit Package for those most immediately affected; 11% do not support this proposal and further 25% are undecided. Overall, 62% of respondents support the developerâ€&#x;s proposal including 19% that strongly support it and 43% that tend to support it. 18% oppose the proposals including 14% that strongly oppose and 4% that tend to oppose the proposals (the balance of 20% of respondents neither support nor oppose the proposals or donâ€&#x;t know).


1.0

BACKGROUND, OBJECTIVES AND METHODOLOGY BACKGROUND

1.1

Kirknewton has been identified by the company EFRG as one of the host communities for a wind energy power station to be sited to the west of Harperrig Reservoir.

1.2

The Kirknewton Community Council had been relying upon the developer‟s consultation to ensure that the views of local communities were understood fully. However, the Community Council did not have sufficient confidence in the results of the consultation, particularly with regard to the sample size of people from Kirknewton that have made their views known at the two events held in the Kirknewton Village Hall. The Community Council believed it was very important that a sufficient sample of the Kirknewton community had an input to this consultation so that there was confidence that the views expressed were those of the community as a whole.

1.3

It is against this background that the Community Council commissioned IBP Strategy and Research to conduct an independent survey on the views of the community. OBJECTIVES

1.4

The specific objectives of the survey were to:  Identify community views in Kirknewton relating to renewable energy and onshore wind power in general.  Consider the acceptability of the proposed site and number of turbines  Identify the views of the community with respect to distribution of the Community Benefit package being proposed.  Assess the overall degree of community support or opposition in relation to the proposed development.

1


METHODOLOGY 1.5

All households in Kirknewton1 were sent a covering letter, two copies of a self-completion questionnaire and supporting documents explaining the background and purpose of the survey. Residents were asked to complete the survey form and either return it in the Reply Paid Envelope provided to IBP Strategy and Research or to complete the survey online if they wished to do so. Following this, face to face interviews were carried out on a random basis amongst residents who had not yet returned a postal or online survey. The face to face survey took place throughout Kirknewton in early-February.

1.6

In total 355 completed surveys were achieved. Of these, 96 were received by post, 65 were completed online and the remainder (194) were carried out as face-to-face interviews. A completed sample of 355 surveys provides data accurate to +/- 4.7% based on an estimated adult population in Kirknewton of 1,800.

1

A database of all households in Kirknewton was compiled using the edited Electoral Roll.

2


2.0

SURVEY FINDINGS RESPONDENT PROFILE

2.1

The profile of respondents by whether or not they are in the immediate vicinity 2 of the proposed wind farm site is illustrated below. Figure 2.1: Proximity to Proposed Wind Farm Site 96%

100%

Base: 355

80% 60% 40% 4%

20% 0%

Resident in immediate vicinity

Resident elsewhere in Kirknewton

15 responses were classified as being in the “immediate vicinity” and 340 as being “resident elsewhere in Kirknewton”.

2

This information was provided to IBP by the Kirknwton Community Council.

3


2.2

As shown in Figure 2.2, there was a broad range of age groups responding to the survey with an almost even split between respondents under the age of 50 and respondents aged 50 and over. Figure 2.2: Age

40% 33%

Base: 355 30% 21%

22%

20%

20%

10%

4%

0% 16-29

30-39

40-49

50-65

Over 65

Key Points A small minority of respondents to the survey (4%, 15 respondents) live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed wind farm site; throughout this report, their specific views have been noted. The profile of respondents by age group is fairly broad with approximately even proportions of respondents being aged under or over 50.

4


VIEWS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY AND WIND FARMS IN GENERAL 2.3

Firstly, respondents were asked to say whether or not they agreed that society in general needs to move towards generating renewable forms of energy. These results are shown in Figure 2.3. Figure 2.3: Agreement with the Need to Move Towards Renewable Forms of Energy

Would you agree that, as a society, we need to move towards generating renewable forms of energy? 100%

91%

Base: 355 80%

60%

40%

20% 2%

6%

1%

0% Yes

No

Undecided

Not answered

As shown above, the vast majority (91%) are in agreement that society in general needs to move towards generating renewable forms of energy. Only 2% disagree and 6% remain undecided. The remaining 1% could not answer this question.

5


2.4

Figure 2.4 illustrates the proportion of respondents that support the use of onshore wind power as a renewable energy resource. Figure 2.4: Support for Onshore Wind Power

In principle, do you support the use of onshore wind power as a renewable energy resource? 80%

70%

Base: 355

60%

40%

14%

20%

16% 0%

0% Yes

No

Undecided

Not answered

The majority of respondents (70%) support onshore wind power as a renewable energy resource in principle, although a significant minority (14%) do not. 16% of respondents remain undecided on this issue. Key Points The vast majority of respondents (91%) agree that society in general needs to move towards generating renewable forms of energy. 70% of respondents support, in principle, the use of onshore wind power as a renewable energy resource.

6


VIEWS ON ASPECTS OF FAUCH HILL WIND FARM PROPOSAL 2.5

Respondents were then asked to say whether or not they think that West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is an acceptable location for a wind farm. These results are shown in Figure 2.5. Figure 2.5: Acceptability of West Colzium and Crosswoodburn as Wind Farm Location

In terms of the specific Fauch Hill Wind Farm proposal, do you think that West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is an acceptable location for a wind farm? 80%

Base: 355

65%

60%

40% 16%

19%

20%

0% Yes

No

Undecided

65% of respondents think that West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is an acceptable location for a wind farm. However, only 16% of respondents think that it is not an acceptable location and the remaining 19% are undecided. When the results for residents who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site are considered, the majority 73% do not think that West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is an acceptable location for a wind farm. 2.6

A selection of illustrative comments provided by respondents as to why they answered „yes‟, „no‟ or „undecided‟ are listed in the following table:

7


Do you think that West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is an acceptable location for a wind farm? Illustrative comments Answer “Site is exposed - windy, site is close electricity users - less transmission costs, and the site is relatively well secluded.” Yes

“It's far enough away.” “I think they look nice.” “Wind turbines are unsightly and spoil the landscape. They don't work unless there is wind. They can be dangerous. It is claimed that at times the national grid can't cope with their output.”

No

“Wind farm proposal will have damaging impact on Pentland Hills landscape – visually, culturally and ecologically.” “It's a waste of time and money.” “Don't have enough knowledge of the area to form an opinion.”

Undecided

“Don't know where it is.” “Can see both sides.”

A full listing of verbatim comments can be found in the appendices. 2.7

Figure 2.6 illustrates the proportion of respondents that think the number of turbines proposed for the site (23 turbines) is acceptable. Figure 2.6: Acceptability of Number of Turbines Proposed

Is the number of turbines proposed for the site (23) acceptable to you? 60%

57%

Base: 355

40%

19%

23%

20%

1% 0% Yes

No

Undecided

Not answered

8


Over half of respondents (57%) think that 23 turbines is an acceptable number for the proposed site, although a significant minority (19%) do not think this is an acceptable number. A further 23% are undecided and the remaining 1% could not answer this question. The majority of respondents who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site (67%) do not think that 23 turbines is an acceptable number. This is most probably because the majority of these respondents are opposed to the location of the site in the first instance. 2.8

A selection of illustrative comments provided by respondents as to why they answered „yes‟, „no‟ or „undecided‟ are listed in the following table:

Is the number of turbines proposed for the site (23) acceptable to you? Answer

Illustrative comments “To minimise the effect on landscape, better to have fewer wind farms that are bigger.”

Yes

“Could accommodate more.” “We need all the wind turbines possible to generate more electric power.” “There should be no turbines.”

No

“They are unsightly and an eyesore.” “It's a lot of windmills in a small location.” “Don't know what would be an acceptable amount.”

Undecided

“I don't know if they are cost effective.” “Don't know how big the area is to know if it is congested.”

A full listing of verbatim comments can be found in the appendices. 2.9

The survey form then provided respondents with the following information:

9


“If the wind farm is approved, the community benefit package proposed by the developers of the Fauch Hill Wind Farm would be £276,000 per year. Kirknewton Community Development Trust have negotiated and agreed in principle that 30% of that package (£82,800) would go to the Kirknewton community to meet the objectives of the Kirknewton Development Plan (as the wind farm falls within our community boundary), 30% would go to the West Calder and Harburn community to meet the objectives of their Development Plan (as the wind farm also falls within their boundary) and 40% would go to West Lothian Development Trust for projects in the Pentland Park for job creation and skills partnerships with local educational establishments and to fund local community activities within a 10 kilometre radius of the wind farm.” Figure 2.7 shows the proportion of respondents who think that the proposed distribution of the Community Benefit Fund is reasonable. Figure 2.7: Whether or Not Distribution of Community Benefit Fund is Perceived as Reasonable Do you think the above distribution of the community benefit fund is a reasonable one? 80%

66%

Base: 355

60%

40%

14%

20%

19%

2% 0% Yes

No

Undecided

Not answered

Two thirds of respondents (66%) perceive the proposed distribution of the community benefit fund to be reasonable, while a significant minority (19%) are undecided. A further 14% perceive that the proposed distribution of the Community Benefit Fund is not reasonable and the remaining 2% did not answer this question.

10


2.10

A selection of illustrative comments provided by respondents as to why they answered „yes‟, „no‟ or „undecided‟ are listed in the following table:

Do you think the above distribution of the Community Benefit Fund is a reasonable one? Illustrative comments Answer “Local people know how to improve the community and add to its resources so they should have the money to spend themselves.” “There's no denying that this income stream will provide a massive opportunity for Kirknewton to develop and thus attract more people/services / businesses into the area.”

Yes

“Kirknewton is getting a good deal since the visual impact at Harburn is likely to be much greater. I expect the turbines will only be visible from a few if any homes in Kirknewton given the lie of the land to the South West of Kirknewton.” “There seems to be little benefit compared to the effect the farm will have on the environment.” “The money is coming from the community from the increase in electricity and gas bills. So in fact we are getting our own money back. The landowner is making a very large profit for no effort.”

No

Undecided

“I feel the financial gain and the proposals for its use will fall very short of compensating for the loss of rural beauty within the community boundaries.” “Have no idea who owns Fauchhill Wind Farm or what their deal is. Your information is not enough.” “The money is tempting but the impact to the countryside would be devastating.”

A full listing of verbatim comments can be found in the appendices.

11


Key Points West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is seen as an acceptable location for a wind farm by 65% of respondents; 16% think that it is not an acceptable location and 19% are undecided. A majority of respondents (57%) also indicate that the number of turbines (23) proposed for the site is an acceptable number; 19% think that this is not an acceptable number and 23% are undecided. The proposed distribution of the Community Benefit Fund is perceived to be reasonable by 66% of respondents; 14% do not perceive the proposed distribution of the Community Benefit Fund to be reasonable and 19% are undecided. SUPPORT FOR FAUCH HILL WIND FARM PROPOSAL 2.11

Respondents were then asked to say whether or not they are in favour of the Kirknewton Community Development Trust investing in the Wind Farm if the opportunity is deemed by the Trust to be beneficial to the community.

Figure 2.8: Support for Kirknewton Community Development Trust to Invest in Wind Farm If the Kirknewton Community Development Trust feel the opportunity to invest is beneficial to the Kirknewton community are you in favour of us doing so? 80%

Base: 355

64% 60%

40% 22% 13%

20%

1% 0% Yes

No

Undecided

Not answered

12


64% of respondents are in favour of Kirknewton Community Development Trust investing in the wind farm if the opportunity will be beneficial to the community. 13% of respondents are not in favour of the Kirknewton Community Development Trust investing in the wind farm and 22% are undecided. The remaining 1% could not answer this question. 2.12

40% of those respondents who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site are in favour of this and 33% are undecided. The remaining 27% are not in favour.

2.13

A selection of illustrative comments provided by respondents as to why they answered „yes‟, „no‟ or „undecided‟ are listed in the following table:

If the Kirknewton Community Development Trust feel the opportunity to invest is beneficial to the Kirknewton community are you in favour of us doing so? Illustrative comments Answer “Provided that this investment gives an appropriate ongoing/recurring return financially for investment in other projects.” Yes “If it's good for the community that's the main thing.” “It would benefit the whole surrounding community and in future we could get more financial benefit.” “The Trust should have no involvement in the Fauch Hill Wind Farm. It compromises their position as a Community Development Trust.” “Not the right time. Don't think it would be profitable.”

No

“Any such investment I would view as counterintuitive and would provide the investors with an effective rubber stamp of community support to increase the size of the development in future.” “I don't know what the extra return would be - need more information.” Undecided

“I would need to hear KCDT's arguments to take the benefits of the proposal to invest and how these benefits would be made to the community.” “More information on potential returns required.”

A full listing of verbatim comments can be found in the appendices. 13


2.14

The survey form then provided respondents with the following information: “The Kirknewton residents immediately affected by the Fauch Hill Wind Farm development have been offered a three year community benefit package to fund capital projects that will help improve their general vicinity. They will establish their own needs and negotiate an appropriate community benefit package that will be supported by the Kirknewton Community Development Trust.� Figure 2.9 illustrates the proportion of respondents who support this aspect of the proposal. Figure 2.9: Support for the Community Benefit Package for Residents Immediately Affected Do you support this proposal?

80%

Base: 355

64% 60%

40% 25% 11%

20%

0% 0% Yes

No

Undecided

Not answered

64% of respondents support this aspect of the proposal and only 11% do not. A further 25% are undecided as to whether or not they support this aspect of the proposal. Just over half of respondents who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site (53%) support this aspect of the proposal, although a significant minority (33%) do not support it. The remaining 13% are undecided.

14


2.15

A selection of illustrative comments provided by respondents as to why they answered „yes‟, „no‟ or „undecided‟ are listed in the following table:

Do you support this proposal? Illustrative comments “Only support this if local residents are happy. Compensation must fully compensate for reduced property values of circa 30%.”

Answer

“Since I will not be affected I think it only fair that any residents directly affected should be directly compensated for loss of amenity.”

Yes

“Only if the proposal goes ahead and mitigates the detrimental effect on the immediate neighbourhood and population.” “Waste of money. This is simply a bribe.” “No amount of community benefit could compensate these residents for the destruction of their quality of life. The developers have acted unprofessionally to date with these residents - can they be trusted?”

No

“I cannot think how the local residents can benefit from a pay-off that can only provide a short term financial gain. This will certainly not compensate for the loss to the rural environment in the long term, which would be manifold. Visual, sound, habitat, etc.” “I am not of the residents affected. It is for those affected to comment.” Undecided

“Depends on how much the package is.” “Don't know enough about what's happening.”

A full listing of verbatim comments can be found in the appendices. OVERALL VIEWS ON THE PROPOSAL 2.16

The extent to which respondents support or oppose the proposal to develop a 23 turbine wind farm at West Colzium and Crosswoodburn is illustrated in Figure 2.10.

15


Figure 2.10: Extent of Support for the Proposal Overall, to what extent would you say that you support or oppose the developer’s proposals to develop a 23 turbine wind farm at West Colzium and Crosswoodburn, which falls within the Kirknewton / West Calder and Harburn Community Council boundary in West Lothian? 60%

Base: 355

43% 40%

19%

19%

20%

14% 4%

1%

0% Strongly Support

Tend to Support

Neither Support nor Oppose

Tend to Oppose

Strongly Oppose

Don't Know

62% of respondents either support the proposal or support the proposal strongly and 19% either oppose the proposal or oppose the proposal strongly. Of the remaining respondents, 19% said that they neither supported the proposal nor opposed it and 1% did not know their extent of support. The majority of respondents who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site (67%) oppose the proposal strongly and a further 13% tend to oppose the proposal. The remaining 20% supported the proposal.

16


Key Points If the opportunity is found to be beneficial to the community, 64% of respondents are in favour of Kirknewton Community Development Trust investing in the wind farm. 13% are not in favour and 22% are undecided. Almost two thirds of respondents (64%) support the aspect of the proposal relating to a three year Community Benefit Package for those most immediately affected; 11% do not support this proposal and further 25% are undecided. Overall, 62% of respondents support the developerâ€&#x;s proposal including 19% that strongly support it and 43% that tend to support it. 18% oppose the proposals including 14% that strongly oppose and 4% that tend to oppose the proposals (the balance of 20% of respondents neither support nor oppose the proposals or donâ€&#x;t know).

17


Kirknewton Wind Farm Survey