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March 21, 2012

In for the long haul

From when a community first has the idea to develop a wind farm project through to the end of the planning process, can be a long and tortuous journey.  If the community happens to be an urban one, that journey can be even longer and even more tortuous.  Just ask the folk in Castlemilk who have been working on their project for over a decade and still don’t have planning permission.  They’re hopeful that a recent award of CARES funding should see them over the line.


Louise Reilly, East Kilbride News

A CONSULTING company have been commissioned by the Castlemilk and Carmunnock Community Wind Trust to assist in finalising proposals and gaining planning consent for a community wind project at a site on the Cathkin Braes.

The Trust’s urban wind farm project has been a long time coming. They first came together in July 2002 to investigate the feasibility of a community-run and owned project which would generate funds for a Community Managed Trust.

Now, with funding granted under the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), the project should progress to the planning application stage by this spring and they have commissioned Atmos Consulting, an environmental consultancy specialising in renewable energy and sustainable development, to help them.

Atmos Consulting will update available information to determine the best location and size of turbine, undertake a range of technical assessments, and liaise with the regulatory authorities, non-statutory bodies and community groups.

Their technical director Lesley Dinnett explained: “The pre-planning phase of renewables schemes typically involve a relatively large up-front investment, which many community schemes cannot afford.

“The beauty of the CARES scheme is that it provides the finance needed to recruit the right professional help for these early stages at no risk to the community. If the scheme fails to achieve planning consent, then the CARES loan is not repayable.”

At Castlemilk and Carmunnock, the local community’s aim is to provide a long term sustainable ‘green’ income to invest in a variety of local projects and activities, improving the area for all residents.

It has developed an approach that values local training, employment and volunteering opportunities.

In this way, skills and money are retained in the area along with increased civic pride. It is an approach that is proving to be a model for other communities taking advantage of the CARES scheme.

“This is a textbook example of the way the CARES scheme can work,” said Lesley. We are delighted to be able to help and to bring our team’s experience and expertise, gained from working on projects across the UK, to bear.”

Ken McCready, chairman of the Community Trust, noted the “importance of community-based initiatives like this to support locally-based projects to improve opportunities and outcomes for all residents” adding, “it is hoped this project is just the initial stage of a programme of improvements in facilities in the area and the Trust is delighted to be working on this project.”