erupts over firm's donation to village hall solar power project
row has broken out between a wind farm developer and
protesters near Burnham-On-Sea after East Brent Village Hall accepted
a donation towards the cost of a major new solar
has made a financial contribution towards the installation of
the solar panels on the roof of East Brent Village Hall (pictured),
to enable their installation to generate renewable electricity
for the hall and reduce its running costs.
Mackay, Chair of the Village Hall Management Committee which is
behind the project, said: "The Committee is extremely grateful
to these grant providers, without whom we would not be able to
make this significant improvement to the hall."
Tom Cosgrove, Project Manager at Broadview Energy, added: "East
Brent Village Hall presented an excellent opportunity for a community
green energy project and we're delighted that the Management Committee
invited us to be involved. It's also great news that the project
is being undertaken by a local installer."
the No Pilrow campaign group, which is fighting Broadview's proposals
to construct four
130-metre tall turbines on
the outskirts of Rooksbridge, has attacked the donation, which
it claims is a blatant publicity exercise.
group's spokesman, David Maund, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We
would urge the Hall Committee to think again and return this donation
to Broadview immediately."
Chairman of the Hall Committee has said that the donation was
sought on the understanding that it did not represent support
for the Pilrow project. This, we feel, has now been shown to be
a somewhat naïve assessment of Broadview's intentions in
making the donation. This is nothing more than a blatant public
relations exercise to try and make their image more acceptable
to local residents."
added: "One of our group's objectives is to accept and encourage
the use of appropriate renewable energy and, in that sense, we
are pleased that the Village Hall Committee have erected solar
panels on the roof of the hall and will be making a profit through
Feed In Tariffs, albeit at the expense of consumers through subsidies
paid by them."
this case, however, the money paid out by these subsidies and
the profit to the Village Hall is put straight back in for the
community's benefit. This is in direct contrast to the proposal
from Broadview Energy where the profit made by that company, again
at consumers' expense, will go into the pockets of individual
and corporate financiers."
added: "We understand that the request for this donation
was made by the Hall Committee last year. It is clearly no coincidence
that funds have been given to the project just a few weeks prior
to Broadview's expressed intention of putting forward a Planning
Application for the Pilrow Wind Farm and within days of it putting
on an exhibition at the hall to support their Pilrow project.
Broadview's reasons and timings for making this payment could
not be more obvious."
Broadview says it just wants to help the community and has also
proposed setting up a community fund of £2,500 per MW of
installed capacity, totalling between £20,000 and £30,000,
which, if the wind farm is constructed, will be paid annually
for the lifetime of the project. The firm says the fund could
"total between £500,000 and £750,000 over the
projects 25 year life" and is intended to be spent
by the community on community projects.
Top, East Brent Village Hall (pic: Richard Webb); campaigners
from No Pilrow with MP Tessa Munt; and, above, how the scheme