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Turbine moratorium call

Fife Council opposition leader Alex Rowley has reiterated his call for a moratorium on all planning applications for the erection of wind turbines in Fife.

He said that an incoming Labour administration after May’s election would take steps from day one to bring in the moratorium and launch a Fife wide consultation that will establish a framework for future development of land based turbines.

Mr Rowley said, “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 concluded, “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.”

The Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area has one turbine project underway at Little Raith, near Mossmorran, but there have been other applications for turbines at the former Westfield opencast site and at Keirsbeath, near Crossgates and Hill of Beath.

Residentsin Crossgates came out strongly against the Keirsbeath project at a public meeting and are concerned about the number of applications for systems which could affect the village.

Fife Council have granted a few applications but a great many have been refused after public consultation.