A view from the Bridge

WATCHING billions more euros go down the bottomless pit which has opened up in Athens, I’m forced to wonder - who was worse? The Greek Government for accepting money it knew it could never pay back, or the bankers who gave that money without checking what was being done with it?

Far be it for me to use my column to bay for blood, but surely somebody needs to be held accountable for this and go to jail? Who were they, and how have they got away with causing a crisis which could bankrupt Europe?

We’ve watched Fred Goodwin lose his knighthood - now we need to be told who gave Greece billions of euros without checking whether it could ever be paid back.

IN local news, Udny Community Council are currently looking for new members to put themselves forward for election onto the body. The group has achieved some great things in the time I’ve been at the Ellon Times, most notably the construction of a community wind turbine which will bring hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of revenue into the local community.

The thing I’ve always wondered is - why haven’t similar community bodies established the same sort of permanent income stream, and why aren’t planners, as well as local and national authorities, doing more to encourage and facilitate such constructions?

I understand that the community members at Udny have a particular skill set which made such a scheme more feasible - but why hasn’t central or local government moved to make more of these projects a reality?

Every other week there are new applications for private wind developments across Formartine. I’m aware that the Formartine Partnership is also looking at a part-owned scheme, which is something to be welcomed. But it would be great to see more community councils jumping on the bandwagon. It would certainly go a long way to answering objections about unsightly wind turbines if the residents of an area knew that there were going to be tangible benefits to themselves.

Udny will eventually benefit to the tune of between £100,000 and £250,000 a year from the community turbine. That sum of money spread through a comparatively small area has the potential to make a world of difference to the lives of those who live there. It’s something that all of our community councils should be looking at, before the best sites are occupied and the chance to cash in on the wind bonanza passes. There are only so many turbines it’s possible to have in one area, and it would be great if at least some of them were generating money for the public benefit.

The Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council should also be looking at these opportunities - wealthy local communities are good for everyone, need less attention from central and local government, and can provide the sort of standard of living everyone aims for.