The Joseph Rowntree Foundation viewpoint entitled "Wind Energy and Justice for Disadvantaged Communities" outlines its proposals for community benefits. It examines and contrasts the recent community benefit arrangements put in place for major wind farm schemes, including NSIPs.
The Foundation believes that redressing the impact on communities is a matter of social justice. It advocates the increased use of community benefit funds to support long-term improvements in those communities where developers construct wind farms.
Increasingly, local authorities are recommending that community benefit funds for the development of wind farms should be secured via trusts assessed on a per megawatt of installed capacity or actual output basis. This will ensure that the affected communities will benefit from annual payments towards improvements in the area.
The research outlines three key reasons to justify the need for such support including: legitimate concerns over the impact on the environment; an unequal distribution of impacts from wind farms on places (particularly economic); and the concentration of wind farms disproportionately falling on disadvantaged groups.
A spokesperson for the foundation said: "The areas seeing intensive wind farm development are often places with below-average incomes, so it's important disadvantaged areas do not miss out on the benefits of investment".