Friday, 20 January 2017


MIGHT  energy giant  E.ON pull the plug on its proposed financial support for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's controversial plan to build a visitor centre at Spurn?

To keep the community sweet, the German-owned company set up a community support fund, in April 2015, to celebrate the launch of its 73-turbine Humber Gateway offshore wind farm.

The fund's  stated aim was to provide "a  pot of money  to support smaller, sustainable projects in the parishes bordering the wind farm (between Easington and Preston)".

Local community groups, voluntary organisations and  registered charities were invited to apply for funding.

Since then, there have been many beneficiaries including the Spurn Bird Observatory Trust which received a grant of almost £10,000  to pay for new netting and ringing equipment "to allow the team to continue their valuable work in capturing data from up to 20,000 birds per year".

But E.ON will have been  embarrassed at the furore over the visitor centre because the company  now finds itself in the position of funding a project opposed by many if not most in  the local community.

As such the well-intended funding   now looks like no more than a financial transaction between two corporates - E.ON and the YWT.

Last year, the company  paid the trust  £18,708,  but it is not clear how much they have pledged to the total cost of the centre which has been put at £900,000.

However, it is a proportion  of up to £2-million, part of which has been earmarked for two other projects - one to provide  two new 16-seat electric minibuses for Easington and the wider south Holderness community and another that will support an engineering apprenticeship scheme in Grimsby out of which port the turbines are serviced.

The visitor centre  project has already cost the YWT more than £70,000 in  fees to architects, planners and others, so it is vital to  the trust's finances that E.ON maintains its financial commitment.

There is no indication at this stage that the company is ready to pull the plug on funding, but it may come under pressure to do so from objectors if the controversy continues.

Beneficiaries of the community support fund during  2015 were:
Association for the Conservation of Sunk Island
Hedfest (Hedon Festival)
Hedon Museum Society
Keyingham Parish Institute
Ottringham Village Institute
Paull Parish Council
Paull Village Hall Committee
Ryehill Village Institution
Spurn Observatory Trust Ltd.
The Evergreens
Thorngumbald Pre-school
Welwick & Weeton-in-Bloom Neighbourhood Watch
Welwick Parish Council
Easington United AFC
Ottringham Village Hall

Beneficiaries of the fund last year were:
Easington Parish Council
Hedon Museum Society
Keyingham Village Institute
Welwick Parish Council
Ottringham Computer Club
Patrington Playing Fields Association
Ryehill Village Hall
Easington Community Hall
Ottringham Playground Committee
Patrington Cricket Club
Ottringham Village Institute
Thorngumbald Horse and Pony Show
Thorngumbald Pre-school
Boyes Lane Recreation Ground
Patrington AFC
Easington Evergreens

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