East Lothian Courier – 7 October 2021


Preparations continue for the wealth that’s going to flow ashore in East Lothian from offshore wind but there’s still no sign of the county and its citizens benefiting from it. Research from the House of Commons library confirmed what I had suspected that there’s a gap in legislation. If the turbines were onshore, then community benefit would apply, and funds would be available for local areas. No one thought that turbines would be placed offshore and hence there’s no laws applying.

Some agreements though have already been entered into. South of the border some communities have been getting almost half a million pounds a year and Highland council’s entering into an agreement with operators off their shores.

My view’s that the amount should be regulated by law and not simply be a donation from an operator. It needn’t be a sum that would impede development, but nor should it be their whim and fancy or for them to sponsor chosen events.

It should be a community right and a sum that would make a difference for communities who’ll be affected by it. As I’ve written before Shetland has been transformed by being able to access a little of the wealth from off its shores. So must East Lothian. Hence, I’m continuing with my request for a meeting with the UK Minister and for legislation to be brought in.

Like many in the county I can see the sea from my home. I enjoy the view but as a country we’re not using the sea as we should. Fishing boats ply the seas, and sailors enjoy the waters, but it’s also an economic opportunity. Whilst Ireland prepared from Brexit by increasing ferry access to Europe, Scotland remains cut off. As fuel shortages bite and costs increase restoring a direct link to Europe’s vital.

Similarly, whilst the county’s boat building was small scale, as a nation Scotland prided itself on its shipyards. The Scottish Government putting the Islay ferry contract to yards abroad and not on the Clyde’s shameful. The water’s an opportunity and needs utilised for our community and country’s benefit.