Energy changes put bike group in jeopardy

Bespoke's Guy Wedderburn says changes to renewable energy tariffs has threatened its wind turbine plans
Bespoke's Guy Wedderburn says changes to renewable energy tariffs has threatened its wind turbine plans

A successful voluntary group which promotes cycling and healthy pursuits could run out of cash due to government environmental changes.

Bespoke Community Development Company had proposed to erect a wind turbine on land in Callendar Estate in a bid to generate cash from selling on the renewable energy to become self-sufficient, but a new policy has put its plans in jeopardy after four years of hard work.

The group has planning permission in place for the turbine and funding to build it, but a delay in completing legal agreements means it has hit a significant barrier.

Because the agreements weren’t in place before Westminster’s latest budget, the turbine will be affected by changes in policy that would dramatically reduce the amount of income it could bring in.

UK Chancellor George Osbourne says capping the Feed in Tariff will reduce costs for energy companies, resulting in cheaper household bills.

Since Bespoke formed in 2011 the group has generated a large membership and volunteer movement and has been able to create two permanent jobs, which could be in jeopardy.

Bespoke member and manager of Callendar Estates Guy Wedderburn, where Bespoke maintains 67km of mountain bike trails, said: “Sadly the dream of self-sufficiency and the future of Bespoke is now looking decidedly shaky.

“Not only would the turbine generate clean and renewable energy for the local area, it would have also generated a guaranteed and sustainable income from the sale of electricity and receipts from the Feed in Tariff and was intended to be up and running by March 2016. “Our current funding is diminishing and we need a bit of breathing space to develop an alternative long term strategy.

“With no turbine and no public funding we could be out of cash by the middle of 2016.”

In a bid to raise money Bespoke has launched a crowdfunding campaign with an ambitious target of £53,689 to cover its costs.

To get involved or donate to the campaign visit the Save Our Community Development Company page at www.indiegogo.com or call (01324) 624236.