Sunday, July 15, 2007

Still no Ffynnon Oer money for communities


Readers of Paul Lewis's article in the Evening Post might be forgiven for believing that new money has suddenly become available for "greening" our communities' schools.

"Council officers are now thrashing out a deal to decide how the cash resulting from the 16-turbine npower development will be spent locally," he writes, no doubt from a press brief prepared by the County Borough Council.

In fact, £32,000 has been available since May 2006. Investigations by Richie Northcote in Resolven, as to what had happened to the money, started soon after. (Resolven is just one of the communities which would benefit - the others are Cymmer, Glyncorrwg and Pelenna.)

It turns out that the money is still sitting in nPower's coffers. It has doubled as from May this year, and will be added to at the rate of £32,000 on each anniversary of the establishment of the Ffynnon Oer wind-farm for the life of the installation.

All that was needed to access the money was for Neath Port Talbot CBC to set up a suitable financial vehicle, such as a trust. Planning for this could have started at the time planning permission for the wind farm was granted. Schools and other community facilities could have benefited from Day One.

Instead, on the council's own admission, they are still discussing the form of the trust.

We applaud the ideas outlined in the article, and welcome the call for further suggestions from the communities, but condemn the fifteen month wait, and the continuing delay.
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