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New call for halt to wind turbine applications  

Credit:  By Michael Alexander, The Courier & Advertiser, 27 March 2012 ~~

A leading councillor has reiterated his call for a moratorium on all planning applications for wind turbines in Fife.

The comment has been made by Fife Council opposition leader Alex Rowley, who last year wrote to local authority chiefs, demanding an investigation into the situation.

Mr Rowley has insisted no more applications should be approved until a “strategic framework” for such developments is put in place.

Mr Rowley also called for a “community led” discussion on the issue and said that a thorough investigation of the planning system is required.

Yesterday, amid on-going heated debate about the future energy needs of Scotland and vigorous discussion about the pros and cons of wind turbine applications in Fife, Mr Rowley said he was committed to pushing for a moratorium and the launch of a Fife-wide consultation that will establish a framework for future development of land based turbines.

Mr Rowley told The Courier: “The massive subsidies that are currently on offer for land based wind turbines means that every profiteer who wants to make a quick buck thinks they can stick these industrial structures on our doorsteps and in our countryside.

“The people of Fife in my view have rights and as such must be able to engage in a proper discussion around the merits of wind turbines and set out clear guidance on what is and is not acceptable.

“I have met with council officials on a number of occasions and I believe they are making good progress in drawing up a framework and while they did have a form of consultation some time ago, things have moved on and public awareness of the issues is much higher now.”

The Labour leader said he was also keen to explore “new and meaningful partnerships” that would put communities in the driving seat where such structures are to be built.

He said; “I am keen to look at models elsewhere that promote a community ownership approach to turbines.

“This means that a large share of the massive profits go back into the local communities that have these things in their areas.

“I am also keen to have more answers than we have at present about what is expected by the Scottish Government in terms of Scotland’s electricity generation from land based turbines and what is Fife expected to contribute to this.

He added: “We will make sure that as part of that consultation all the facts are published including the costs involved, the subsidies of public money going into the land based turbines and the profits involved.

“The consultation will be based on outline maps of areas being considered and the results will feed into a strategic framework document for Fife that will deliver a coherent set of policies and a consistent approach.

“The people deserve better than having these things dumped on them and every Fifer has the right to have their say on what is and is not acceptable.”

Last week anti-windfarm campaigners were celebrating after controversial wind farm developments proposed for the Fife beauty spot Clatto Hill were thrown out.

However, their fight is not over, with West Coast Energy already having indicated it may appeal Fife Council planning committee’s decision to refuse its proposal for five turbines at Devon Wood, near Kingskettle.

A total of eight turbines were proposed around Clatto Hill. Green Cat Renewables had hoped to install three on an adjacent site at Clatto Farm but were also unsuccessful.

A recent public meeting – Is Wind the Answer? – organised by Cameron Community Council, and held in St Andrews Town Hall, highlighted the arguments for and against wind farms, with particular concerns raised about the “hundreds” of turbines proposed for the East Neuk alone.

Eleven anti-wind turbine groups in Fife have also written a joint letter to Fife Council chief executive Ronnie Hinds, expressing their concerns that council planners often appear to ignore planning policies when dealing with wind turbine applications.

Source:  By Michael Alexander, The Courier & Advertiser, 27 March 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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