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Windfarms: Let’s pause & take stock

With an ‘avalanche’ of applications to build wind farms from speculative developers, Fife Council leader Alex Rowley is calling on the Scottish Government to support proposals for a temporary halt in the Kingdom.

Scottish Government’s ministers have told local authorities to open up more land for windfarm developments and create ‘spatial frameworks’ for wind turbines, providing companies with a list of sites across the country to target for preferred development.

Cllr Rowley told the Press this week this was something the Council was already hoping to do, but the number of applications being submitted was putting pressure on planning officers.

And he hoped in the circumstances the Scottish Government would be receptive to a proposal for a moratorium.

The Council’s Executive committee will consider a report today (Thursday) which lays out its intentions to develop a strategic framework

Cllr Rowley said: “Ministers have written saying they want councils to be able to come up with areas that would be acceptable for turbines which can then be built into the development plan.

“That’s what we are already hoping to do. We want to create a strategic framework which would identify suitable areas of search, update the ones identified previously and consult with communities.

“We are not opposed to wind turbines but we’ve got to get this right. We certainly can’t have massive industrial structures – that’s what these are – put up just anywhere.

“We are proposing to have a far reaching consultation. We want to give the public a chance to have their say, and then build it into the development plan.

“We’re ahead of the game in wanting to do it, but the Scottish Government should agree to a moratorium on existing planning applications so we can put the framework in place.”

Cllr Rowley says developers appear to be ignoring current Fife Council guidelines on approved sites.

Now, if agreed by the executive committee, Cllr Rowley will write to the Scottish Government seeking support for a moratorium.

He added: “We have masses of applications coming forward and rather than trying to deal with them at the same time, they should be amenable to us introducing a moratorium. “