Fintry Development Trust has grown out of the original aspirations of Fintry Renewable Energy Enterprise (FREE). FREE was set-up in 2003 with the aim of making Fintry a carbon-neutral sustainable community. With this in mind, FREE looked to engage with a local windfarm that was being planned nearby.
A document produced at time stated –
“Our ideal proposal was that the revenue from a community-owned wind turbine at the nearby windfarm would enable us to fund our own energy-reduction measures within the village.
“This proposal would directly involve most members of the community and increase awareness of energy utilization. We believe that to achieve both local and global benefits of reductions in fossil fuel use and thus lower CO2 emissions, local strategies to reduce energy use through the provision of more efficient heating and insulation are essential. We would look to link these improvements in efficiency to use of energy from renewable sources, either through green energy supply or the use of sustainable fuels such as wood chip etc.
“Ultimately, we believe that this proposal may pave the way for major changes in the use of energy by the public. Such a model would not be confined to communities close by renewable energy developments, but a direct linkage with a local source of energy generation is necessary for emotional resonance and identification with the project.”
At this time the aspirations of FREE were profiled in a piece for Reporting Scotland by Louise Batchelor.
The process of negotiation for the community turbine was concluded in February 2006 when the legal agreement between FREE and the windfarm developers Falck Renewables was signed.
Early in the life of FREE, an attempt had been made to gain charitable status. This attempt had been re-buffed by the inland revenue who didn’t view the aspirations of FREE to be charitable and were concerned about the organisation’s commercial relationship with the windfarm at Earlsburn.
However, it was felt that having charitable status was important. In discussion with Stephen Phillips at Burness it became apparent that the right approach to this was to create a new body, Fintry Development Trust which would have charitable status and would also have a commercial arm. This commercial arm would be FREE.
Fintry Development Trust was therefore born in June 2007 and gained charitable status soon after. A recruitment drive for members resulted in just over 150 members and the first AGM was held in October 2007.