Fife Tories have demanded a halt to the ”proliferation” of windfarm applications for the region’s hilltops.
They have called on the council to introduce a moratorium to allow for a full forensic assessment of the plans which have been flooding into the local authority for months.
The move by Conservative councillors Ron Caird and Roger Guy follows a similar call by the region’s Labour group at the end of last year and comes amid controversial claims by Donald Trump that windfarms are in danger of making Scotland the laughing stock of the world.
Mr Caird and Mr Guy will put forward a motion to Thursday’s full Fife Council meeting asking members to back their call in the hope it will lead to a decision which will allay public concerns.
Labour leader Alex Rowley will support the motion – he but will submit a more detailed amendment calling for a Fife-wide consultation on the issue.
Mr Guy told The Courier: ”While not against individual wind turbines of reasonable height and location, we are extremely concerned about the proliferation of windfarm applications which contain units up to 120 metres tall on prominent hilltops.
”Scottish planning policy has set out criteria which include landscape and visual impact, effect on tourism and recreation interests, and amenity of communities. Recent experience shows that the foregoing are being seriously violated.”
He said the motion had been prompted by a growing antipathy towards wind turbines locally.
”There is no doubt that people are worried about the effects upon the landscape and the consequential spin-off of problems with tourism, which is one of the biggest employers and bringers of capital into north-east Fife,” he said.
”We’re not against wind turbines per se, but the place for wind turbines is not obviously stuck up on high ground.”
Mr Guy claimed that wind power did not necessarily make economic sense and did not dramatically reduce the need for fossil fuel.
”I think the time has come for the Scottish Government to look at its energy policy and recognise the realities of the real world and cease living in some kind of self-generated bubble in Holyrood,” he added.
Mr Rowley said he backed the Conservatives’ views but said Labour’s amendment would set the issue out more clearly.
”Just to have a moratorium on its own in isolation from everything else wouldn’t work,” he said. ”What we need is a clear timeline with consultation across Fife.
”We then need to make representations to the Scottish Government saying we want to have this consultation that engages communities properly on this issue.”
Adding that the council had consulted on wind turbines two years ago, Mr Rowley said: ”At that time there wasn’t the sheer number of applications that are now pouring into communities.
”We have companies who are now themselves trying to communicate with communities and are offering all kinds of planning gains. The whole thing has become quite shambolic.”
Donald Trump has made his views on windfarms known and recently sent executive vice president George Sorel to a meeting in St Andrews to discuss the issue.
The meeting, organised by Cameron Community Council, was attended by 300 people concerned that windfarms threaten to destroy the region’s landscape and tourism industry.
Concerns centred on the £15 million windfarm between Largoward and Dunino and the St Andrews University proposal for a 12 megawatt windfarm at Kenly Farm near Boarhills.
A campaign against two windfarms near Clatto last month proved effective when one of the applications was thrown out by Fife Council’s planning committee.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding