Windfarm developers say a tiny Stirling community will receive around £1.75 million over the next 25 years if its proposal goes ahead.
Stirling-based Scotia Wind will address a hearing at Stirling Council’s planning panel later this month as members prepare to decide on the company’s application for eight turbines at Craigengelt Hill.
If the development goes ahead on the site, 10km south of Stirling between Fintry and Carron Bridge, it would mean an index-linked cash windfall of £48,000 a year for the 130-household, 300-resident community.
The proposed windfarm would generate up to 24 megawatts of electricity – enough to power around 13,700 Stirling households.
A local development trust, which is currently applying for charitable status, would administer the cash and is believed to have chosen a community benefit model based on £2000 per megawatt generated annually by the windfarm.
The trust will also feature a representative of the community council.
While the company is stressing it is entirely up to locals, via the trust and the community council, how the money would be spent, they hope the cash could help fund community projects with a direct benefit to residents.
Among possible options already being investigated locally is believed to be a grants scheme to help households become “greener” and more energy efficient.
Although the turbines would be 80 metres tall and with blades reaching a further 45 metres, the company claims the site is located away from sensitive scenery and is well screened by the surrounding topography.
The company said it was chosen from several possible sites as being the least visible site in Stirling and shielded by high ground on three sides.
It is also not within the Campsie, Ochil and Trossachs ranges, has very high wind speeds and is currently only used for rough grazing.
The development has not been without some critics, however, although so far mainly because of access.
Scotia Wind is creating an access track between Kingsburgh at Chartershall Road and Blackrow, at New Line Road at Chartershall.
Some locals had concerns that it would alter the rural setting and that surrounding routes would be unable to cope with traffic relating to the proposal.
The company has said, however, that the access route would be created specifically to minimise disruption.
Scotia Wind operations director Dominic Farrugia said: “We wanted these benefits to go to the community directly affected by our proposal, which is Carron Valley.
“While we have worked hard to limit it, there will inevitably be an impact of some sort.
“We were approached by the community with a view to discussing the community benefits.
“This type of benefit is completely voluntary but we made a commitment 18 months ago and we will stand by that.”
If the windfarm does go ahead, the company has also agreed to make businesses in the area aware of any commercial opportunities so they have a chance to apply for these.
12 December 2007
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