Council planners who authorised a windfarm application which should have been put before politicians have won sympathy from an unlikely source.
An anti-windfarm group set up to stop energy companies putting up turbines in Fife has come out in support of Fife Council officers who backed plans for wind turbines near the Exxon Mobil plant even though the application should have been put before elected councillors.
The secretary of Stop Proliferation Of Turbines (SPOT) Fife Suzanne Turner says she has “every sympathy” for planners.
“They are under a huge amount of pressure,” she told the Courier. “Their workload is immense.
“And what people often fail to realise is these windfarm applications are increasingly complicated.
“Companies submit documents containing a huge amount of detail and planners have to sift through it all.”
Suzanne is more concerned about new councillors who she says may not be aware of the implications of big planning decisions they will be faced with at upcoming area committee meetings.
The campaigner, who lives in Dunduff, north of Dunfermline, said: “Our worry is that councillors don’t have any awareness of the impact of windfarms, or the number of applications that are pending.
“When we formed SPOT Fife just over a year ago, there were nine turbines planned or erected in an area of 4km by 4km, near where I live.
“Now there are 45 turbines and five anemometer masts planned in the same area. 16 are already approved, and a further 29 are still in planning.”
The group has contacted all 78 Fife councillors and urged them to scrutinise every windfarm application that comes before them.
In the email to councillors, seen by the The Courier, Suzanne said: “We appreciate you are busy but feel this is a key concern for many of Fife’s residents.
“We ask that you take the time to understand the impact of inappropriately sited wind turbine developments on nearby residents.
“Whatever your own personal beliefs on wind energy, well sited turbines result in more public support for wind energy and if turbines are sited in areas where the landscape can accommodate them, more turbines can be built.”
The group are campaigning against plans for 14 turbines at Blairadam Forest near Kelty.
At 130 metres, each turbine would be twice the height of the Wallace Monument and far taller than the 100-metre turbine sited at Pitreavie Industrial Estate in Dunfermline.
The group has set out its concerns in the email to councillors: “The proposed Blairadam turbines, currently at scoping stage, are to be located on high land, so they will be visible over a vast area.
“The historic skyline of Dunfermline will be ruined by these 14 turbines soaring high above the hills behind the spires of the Abbey and Guildhall.”
A planning application is expected to be submitted by Partnership for Renewables “in the next couple of months”, said Suzanne.
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