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Fintry Development Trust

Facts & Figures

Organisation Name:Fintry Development Trust
Area Served:Fintry is a small rural community in West Stirlingshire located between the Campsie and Fintry Hills.
Population:Approximately 600

The organisation emerged in response to a proposal from a private developer to build a wind farm. Local people joined together to negotiate with the developer to increase the footprint of the windfarm by one additional turbine. Although Fintry Development Trust has done a lot of other things in the past few years, it is probably still best known for the relationship it has with Earlsburn Windfarm. The essence of this relationship is that the Trust, via its trading subsidiary Fintry Renewable Energy Enterprise (FREE), has a right to a ‘turbine’s worth’ of the income generated by the whole windfarm. The trading subsidiary donates the income it earns from the turbine to Fintry Development Trust and this money is used to support the work of FDT in the community.

Legal Form:

FREE is a Company Limited by Guarantee and FDT is a charitable trust. Thus the 'trading company' is legally separate from the charitable trust.

People Benefitting:The whole community
Turnover:The wind turbine that is owned by FREE will generate a profit to the community of around 50,000 per annum while the loan on the capital cost of the turbine is repaid.
Earned Income:

£50,000 pa on average.


Income rights to one 15th of a 15 wind turbine farm.

Value of assets:FREE do not own the actual turbine, but own the rights to the income from the turbine over the next 25 years

Roots & Links


In 2003, Fintry Community Council asked local residents who were interested in renewable energy to explore ways in which the village could become ‘greener’. At the same time, a developer approached the council about a 14-turbine windfarm they were proposing to build nearby. The people of Fintry decided they wanted ‘their own turbine’, something that had never been done before in the UK. The outcome was the establishment of FREE and lengthy negotiations with the developers who agreed to establish an additional turbine for the village as part of the development.


FREE is managed by the development trust (FDT) which in turn, is managed by a board of directors who are elected by the membership. FDT was set up in 2007 and membership is open to Fintry residents. FREE receives the income from the wind turbine and will pass this on to the development trust who will determine how the funds are used for the benefit of the community. The development trust achieved charitable status in 2007.

Community Links:

At the outset, FREE held a series of consultation meetings in the local community to ensure that they were acting with a mandate from the whole community. The result is that local people have a sense of ownership and feel that they have a turbine ‘belonging’ to them. FREE and the FDT report to the Fintry Community Council who have been very supportive of the project.

External Links:

Links to Energy Savings Trust, Scottish Renewable Forum, Member of Development Trust Association of Scotland. Strong links to Scottish Executive ( Energy).


Physical Hub:

Currently FDT staff utilise an office at Fintry Sports Club

Builds Local Capacity:

As far as possible, FDT intends to re-cycle the income it receives within the community by using local people to perform installations of equipment and insulation where possible.

Delivers Services:

It is anticipated that the profits will be used by the newly established development trust to provide services/projects for the community, as defined by local people

Develops/Manages Property:

FREE owns the right to the output from one wind turbine that has been developed in partnership with the windfarm developer.


Having the local community owning a specific turbine was commercially unacceptable to the developers. The eventual solution was that rather than own a particular turbine, FREE will receive the equivalent of one fifteenth of the total site’s income. Despite this, the local group were required to make the planning application for the additional turbine and take out a loan to cover its cost. This was the first time this had been done in the UK and the concept of an additional turbine earning income for a community is now known as ‘the Fintry model’

Main Achievements:

• Effective consultation with the community that lead to widespread support for the windfarm project• Successful negotiation with windfarm developers to receive one fifteenth share of the windfarm profits. • Establishment of the Fintry Development Trust to manage the profits for community benefit.

What Next

Biggest Challenge:

Lengthy negotiations with developers were time consuming, and at times, stressful.

Lessons Learned:

Importance of having a clear goal and going for it. This involved achieving a balance between working as a small team of committed and determined people and keeping the rest of the community on board. Being too consensual can lead to a loss of momentum.


FREE/FDT has a long-term ambition of achieving a carbon-neutral sustainable community in Fintry. Now that the turbine is up and running, the income stream has to be managed and used for community benefit. Projects include: • A biomass CHP unit to provide heat and electricity to the local sports club. A Biomass district heating system at the Holiday park for 26 permanent residents  • Making villagers homes more energy-efficient. • A community transport solution • Insulation projects *Solar panels at Primary school * Looking into smart meters and local energy supply. And more.


Name:Gordon Cowtan
Title:Board Member, FREE, and FDT
Address Line 1:C/O Fintry Development Trust, Fintry Sports Club,
Address Line 2:Kippen Road
City:Fintry, G63 0YA
Telephone:07872 056 755 (Tues Wed & Thurs)