‘Conflict’ councillor feels ill wind

Andy Maybury
Andy Maybury

ANDY Maybury has stood down from Hawick Community Council’s wind farm sub group.

Mr Maybury, who is employed by Community Energy Scotland, reluctantly removed himself at the request of other members who felt his inclusion could be seen as a conflict of interests in judging future wind farm plans.

A strong advocate of renewables energy, Mr Maybury believed his knowledge and expertise in the field – he advises other community councils about wind farm applications – would have proven to be an asset to the group and not a conflict. He said: “I’m conscious that some people don’t want me to be involved in the wind farm sub group. The previous chairman [John Hope] asked me to head that group up because I am best informed about renewables technology, including wind turbines.

“I’m passionate about energy and have been for a number of years, that’s the reason I applied for the job with Community Energy Scotland. I do believe for us here in Hawick that energy is one of the few resources that is available for us to make use of to develop our economy. We’re struggling as a town to find things that people want to buy.

“I’m not sure how wide a window we have to grasp these opportunities. I wouldn’t like to see us push all the developers away to the extent that we lose out from the gains that some of these developments can bring.”

However, it was felt by other members of the community council that the public’s perception of his position, given his support for wind farms, could cause some degree of difficulty.

The body is part of the consultation process in determining wind farms for the town and surrounding area.

Community councillor Evelyn Sangster said: “This is not intended to be personal. I think it’s a matter of perception. We as a community council are supposed to be non-political and non-biased about everything we talk about. The public perceive you as being for wind farms rather than against and we’re supposed to be absolutely neutral. I think that’s where people have a conflict. It’s nothing to do with personalities, it’s about being absolutely neutral on all matters that affect our town.”

It was agreed that Mr Maybury be called upon for advice in his role as a community councillor, but not as part of the sub group.