Chance to get a share of £650k windfarm cash

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A windfarm company which runs three projects in the Irish Sea is to stage a consultation event in Fleetwood to explain how local schemes can get their share of £650,000 this year.

DONG Energy, a Danish firm which has three windfarms off Barrow and is planning an extension to one of them, says the cash is part of its commitment to communities where it operates.

The information session takes place at Fleetwood Town FC’s Highbury Stadium on Wednesday February 24, between noon and 5pm.

Potential applicants wanting to find out more about the fund are invited to attend the meeting.

DONG has a history of funding projects in the areas it operates in. Last August the company contributed, along with other windfarm operators, to a scheme providing £7,000 which helped inshore fishermen in Fleetwood, including an electronic winch at the docks and lifesaving equipment and ice boxes for four vessels.

DONG also forked out £120,000 last year towards the running costs of Barrow lifeboat station.

The energy company’s three schemes in operation in the Irish Sea are Barrow, Walney and West of Duddon Sands, with the fourth – Walney Extension – in development.

A spokesman for the company said: “DONG Energy recognises the strength in supporting local communities and believes this can be achieved in a number of ways. Community benefit funding offers a discretionary means of providing further support to local communities in the proximity of offshore windfarm schemes.”

The company says it is committed to a fund worth up to £650,000 a year during the lifetime of the latest windfarm - over the next 25 years.

Steven Frith, a Lifeboat volunteer and one of the Fleetwood fishermen who benefited last August, said: “The windfarms have affected our fishing grounds so it’s fair that the companies compensate us.

“But it’s good that DONG do this for communities and any local organisations should make the most of this opportunity.”

DONG Energy has employed a firm called GrantScape to run the session and manage the fund.