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Forestry Commission woods investigated for wind energy potential

The potential to harness wind energy in two Forestry Commission woodlands in Fife is being investigated, with three smaller forests also being looked at.

Blairadam Forest near Kelty and Devilla, on the outskirts of Kincardine, are being looked at for larger schemes.

Single turbines could be placed in Cardenden, Carnock and Dean forests under the plans from Partnerships For Renewables, the Carbon Trust Enterprise business set up in 2006 to work with the public sector on renewable energy projects without diverting public sector resources away from frontline services.

It is investigating the potential for wind energy projects on a number of Forestry Commission Scotland sites in the central belt as part of a Scottish Government drive to generate clean and renewable energy and reduce climate change’s effects.

In 2009 the commission split the forest estate into six regions to appoint commercial partners to help deliver wind energy projects.

PFR was appointed to cover the Borders and central belt and has worked with the commission for a year to explore sites at Carron Valley, Heathland, Cloich and Wauchope.

Now four new sites are being looked at – as well as Blairadam and Devilla, other sites lie in West Lothian and Slamannan.

PFR is also looking at smaller sites in the central belt which could host single turbines.

As well as the three sites in Fife, Auchlochan near Lesmahagow and Dunsyston on the outskirts of Airdrie have been identified, with mast applications being submitted.

Again these are still at an early stage of investigation and exhibitions will be held in the coming weeks to allow the public to see proposals and talk to staff.

Any site deemed suitable for development after more thorough environmental and technical studies will offer an opportunity for communities to not only benefit economically from projects but ensure that they are involved in the site development process.

Forest Commission renewable programme manager Suilven Weatherhead said, “As part of FCS’ ongoing commitment to help the Scottish Government achieve its renewable energy targets, we are continually investigating the full wind energy potential of the estate.

“Establishing a site’s suitability is a long and detailed process and PFR share our commitment to only developing sites in appropriate locations.

“FCS will also be working with other commercial partners to help us deliver this programme of work across Scotland.”

Alan Mathewson from PFR said, “We continue to work closely with the Forestry Commission to play a part in delivering this programme.

“Although we are still at an early stage with these sites, we hope that further investigation and consultation will establish if the sites are suitable.

“PFR is committed to open engagement to ensure that projects are the best that they can be and local residents will also be contacted to make them aware of the sites being looked at early in the development process.”