June 12, 2012

New council leader moves to put brakes on wind turbines in Fife

By Peter Swindon, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 12 June 2012

Fife Council’s leader is to order planners to stop rubber stamping windfarm applications.

Councillor Alex Rowley said he wants to consult communities across the kingdom before another turbine is approved.

The local authority has already pinpointed ‘areas of search’ earmarked for windfarms.

Mr Rowley said: ”We want to consult with local communities on the areas of search that have already been identified to gather views. And we will be writing to the Scottish Government to put a case for a moratorium on all wind turbine applications while that consultation is under way.”

Last week the Courier revealed that blundering council planners signed off on a windfarm application which should have been scrutinised by a committee of councillors before a decision was made.

Officials gave Airvolution Energy the green light to erect two 100-metre turbines next to a chemical plant outside Cowdenbeath and the company has now submitted a second application to increase their height to 125 metres.

An internal council investigation could result in more windfarm applications coming before councillors, according to Mr Rowley.

He explained: ”We will carry out a review of the scheme of delegation…we want to ensure that councillors have more opportunity to be involved in these decisions.”

The error by planners prompted two anti-turbine pressure groups to suggest that a Scottish Government target to achieve 100% electricity production from renewables by 2020 is putting officials under immense pressure to approve windfarm plans.

Mr Rowley said: ”The pressure being put on our planners is coming from the sheer number of wind turbine applications that are currently being submitted across all parts of Fife.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ”Planning authorities make decisions independent of Government, assessing applications against their own planning policies.”

The issue will be discussed by councillors at an executive committee meeting on June 28.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/06/12/leader-orders-halt-on-windfarm-approvals/