Birks of Aberfeldy hydro scheme axed due to lack of community support

Plans for a hydro scheme at the scenic Birks of Aberfeldy have been dropped
Plans for a hydro scheme at the scenic Birks of Aberfeldy have been dropped
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A CONTROVERSIAL hydro-electric scheme planned for a popular Scottish beauty spot has been dropped due to lack of community support.

Landowner Donald Ogilvy Watson announced that he is abandoning the scheme planned for the famous Birks of Aberfeldy after being unable to persuade local people to back the proposal.

The laird had offered the Perthshire community a 50-50 share of a possible £12 million profit if residents gave permission needed to build part of the development on common land.

It is the third time he has tried and failed to secure community approval for the scheme, which critics feared would ruin the waterfalls immortalised by Robert Burns in his eponymous song.

Announcing his decision Mr Ogilvy Watson said: “It has become clear in the past few months that although there is a degree of enthusiasm in some quarters for community ownership of the project, there is not sufficient support to move forward. As a result I can confirm that I will not be pursuing the project and will withdraw my request for a lease for it from the Aberfeldy Common Good Fund.”

Planning permission for a 985 KW hydro scheme in the Birks was originally given by Perth and Kinross Council in 2009.

But the Common Good Fund Committee decided not to grant a lease until certain conditions were met, including a demonstration of support from the community in Aberfeldy.