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Planning permission go-ahead for Kingussie green power project

1st April 2011

Plans to generate electricity from the River Gynack at Kingussie have been approved by the Planning Committee of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

Meeting today (Friday 1 April) in Boat of Garten, the Committee granted Kingussie Community Development Company planning permission for the restoration of the micro hydro scheme, hailing it a great example of a community based renewable project.

Duncan Bryden, CNPA Planning Committee Convener said: “This scheme will be a huge asset to the people of Kingussie, generating enough electricity annually to power 15 average houses. They should be congratulated for doing their bit for their community and the environment and I’m excited to see how the income they generate will be used to carry out more projects in the area.”

The original hydro scheme on the River Gynack provided power for St Vincent’s Sanatorium. This new scheme differs in that it has been designed using an Archimedes screw which investigations show is more efficient. When completed, the hydro scheme will generate 72,250 kwh of renewable energy each year with an annual CO2 savings of 36 tonnes and its hoped, will provide an estimated income of £15,000 per year for the Badenoch town.

Planning Officer Andrew Tait added: “The CNPA is very supportive of renewable energy schemes like this one where the scale is appropriate to the location. The people of Kingussie have a history of generating power from this river so plans for a hydro scheme at the same site that will enhance this cultural link.

“Surveys carried out at the site show the scheme should have a minimal impact on wildlife in the area. Conditions have been attached to the permission to ensure salmon and mammals are protected and there is minimal disruption to anyone who enjoys walking or canoeing.”

The project has already attracted European funding with £93,765 having been awarded to the Kingussie Community Development Company from New LEADER, which is managed locally by the Cairngorms Local Action Group.

Also at today’s meeting, the CNPA’s Planning Committee Convener, Duncan Bryden was re-elected to the post by his fellow Committee members. Mr Bryden from Tomatin, a self-employed rural development consultant and has served on the Park board since its inception. He has been convener of the Planning Committee since 2008.