A major windfarm planned for the outskirts of Kirkcaldy has received a mixed reception from councillors.
Elected members of the Kirkcaldy area committee aired their views on the project earmarked for Earlseat, which could see nine 120m high turbines erected at the former colliery alongside the Standing Stane Road – but they stopped short of either supporting or rejecting the plans.
As the site straddles the jurisdiction of three area committees, Kirkcaldy councillors are the first to have their say on the application – ahead of counterparts in Glenrothes and Levenmouth – before it goes to Fife’s planning committee for a final decision.
But while many thought the committee would express a preference, chairman Alice Soper summed up Wednesday’s discussions when she said members were supportive of wind energy generally but still had a number of questions about this specific proposal.
The £25.3 million project is expected to create up to 30 short-term construction jobs, while a £2.1 million fund to benefit the community over the 25-year lifespan of the development will also be created.
However, it has courted controversy, as it would be visible from many towns and villages in central and east Fife.
Kirkcaldy MSP and local councillor David Torrance was one of those backing the plans, highlighting developer Carbon Free Earlseat’s tie-up with Adam Smith College which aims to establish at least six new renewable energy apprenticeships each year the windfarm is in place.
Funded by annual payments from windfarm revenue, 150 apprenticeship opportunities could be created.
However, Labour councillor David Ross said he still had “real reservations” about the plans and shared the concerns of Councillor Susan Leslie, who had expressed fears over the impact the windfarm could have on strategic land allocations (SLAs) in the area and the number of “unknowns” that still existed – including what type of turbine will be used.
“I have concerns about the impact this could have on the desirability of the development sites to the north east of Kirkcaldy which is an important aspect of the development of the town”, Mr Ross said. “This whole area has been subject to considerable development through mining and other things but we seem to be at the stage where we have a decent environment and a rural landscape in this area.
“We need to keep that quality of environment between the triangle of Levenmouth, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy but it seems we’re about to put a large and obtrusive industrial development on the site.”
The applicants have set up a website at earlseatwindfarm.com.
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