Bute Community Power looking at off-island alternatives

Bute Community Power is appealing against refusal of planning permission for two 47-metre wind turbines at the island's Auchintirrie farm.
Bute Community Power is appealing against refusal of planning permission for two 47-metre wind turbines at the island's Auchintirrie farm.

Bute Community Power is considering investing in a major commercial wind project off the island if an appeal against refusal of its plans for Bute is unsuccessful.

The company will carry out a survey of its members before coming to a decision on an alternative course of action should the Scottish Government reject the appeal over its plans for two turbines at the island’s Auchintirrie farm.

But BCP’s chairman, Jim Osborne, has told The Buteman the company - formally set up as a ‘community benefit society’ - will not proceed with any off-island wind farm investment if its members don’t support the idea.

Speaking after a recent meeting of BCP’s members, Mr Osborne said: “At the moment we’re just biding our time and awaiting the outcome of the planning appeal.

“That’s still our best opportunity to get something off the ground which will deliver substantial benefit for the community.

“There are other things we are looking at, but the question is whether those other things would have the support of the BCP membership and whether they would be viable in terms of benefiting the community.

“One possibility is the company investing in a large-scale commercial development. It wouldn’t be on Bute, but there are potential projects BCP could invest in.

“The question is whether that course of action would be supported by our membership. If it isn’t, and it doesn’t deliver community benefit, we aren’t going to do it.”

Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee turned down BCP’s application for permission for two 250-kilowatt turbines, each 47 metres high, at a hearing in Rothesay on September 22.

But less than three weeks later the company lodged an appeal against that decision with the Scottish Government, who have now appointed a reporter, Mr Dannie Onn, to look into the case.

* More on this story in the December 18 issue of The Buteman - on sale now.