Plans for a huge wind turbine off the Fife coastline have been given the backing of the region’s planning committee.
However, the final decision on the 179-metre (582ft) demonstration turbine rests with the Scottish Government because of the sheer scale of the development.
Fife Council will now draw up a formal response to the government’s consultation on the proposal.
Previously hailed as a major step forward for the Fife Energy Park, the structure — sited just 20 metres off the coast of Methil — would be visible from East Lothian and the peak of East Lomond in Fife.
The two-blade turbine — the only one of its type in the UK and possibly Europe — would trial offshore technology and be connected to the shore via a new footbridge to allow access and maintenance.
Committee members had been urged to support in principle the development by Dutch firm 2B Energy, but were asked to highlight areas in need of further assessment, such as noise and visual and landscape impact.
The Levenmouth area committee, which cast its eye over the application last month, on Tuesday agreed on condition it remained there for no longer than five years and some benefits for the community were negotiated.
Planner Michael Westwater said, “The turbine is intended to operate on a full-time basis, 24 hours a day for up to five years during which the components of the turbine will be tested.
“After the maximum five-year period it is to be dismantled and removed from the site to be transported to an offshore location.
“Fife wants to be Scotland’s leading green council and this is considered to meet the aims of the council. It’s been mooted to test the technology at Methil.”
The application site is next to the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the turbine’s potential impact on these has been covered in an environmental statement submitted by 2B Energy to the council.
Mr Westwater said, “The proposed council response highlights support for the general principle of the proposal and welcomes the inherent economic benefits it is likely to generate for Fife.
“However, the response also highlights specific concerns which particularly relate to factors that could have a significant negative impact on residential, visual and landscape amenity.
“The council response is requesting that these concerns be considered and addressed by the Scottish Government before reaching a decision on the proposal.”
Councillor Ron Edwards raised a number of concerns relating to noise, shadow flicker and the visual impact of the turbine, but the committee was confident these had been addressed in the conditions put forward in the council’s response.
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