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Permanent air testing ‘a must’  

Credit:  Central Fife Times & Advertiser | 17 October 2012 | www.centralfifetimes.com ~~

Lochgelly and Cardenden councillor, Linda Erskine, wants permanent air quality monitoring stations to be sited in the town and made her plea in the same week that the final wind turbine at the Little Raith site was completed.

Mrs Erskine has written to Keith Winters, Head of Enterprise, Planning and Protective Services, requesting permanent Air Quality Monitoring Stations in both Lochgelly and the surrounding areas as a safety measure with the power generating wind farm set to begin production within a few weeks.

In her letter Councillor Erskine (pictured below) stated, “It is hard to understand that when the council considers the latest Air Quality Screening Assessment report that there is no reference to the air quality in the Lochgelly area.

“Fife Council and the Scottish Government have a legal obligation under UK & EU Laws and regulations to ensure our air quality is not reduced.

“Lochgelly, as you know, is located in close proximity to two petrochemical plants, a by-pass, and a growing wind farm which has been identified as potentially increasing pollutants from Mossmorran in higher concentrations to the surrounding local areas.”

She added, “As a result of this combination I have received requests that permanent Air Quality Monitoring Stations are built within Lochgelly, and surrounding communities, to help clearly quantify any risks to our quality of air, health and environment. I don’t believe the request to be unreasonable.”

Lochgelly Community Council is currently raising a petition asking for air quality monitoring in the town (see separate article).

The Lochgelly councillor continued, “Guidance has been published by Defra for local authorities to obtain monitoring stations.

“The initial costs of approximately £100,000 to £200,000 to purchase the equipment and commence monitoring are a small price to pay for the safety of our communities. The monitoring costs reduce dramatically for additional years.”

In referring to the role of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, (SEPA) Mrs Erskine said, “Many of my constituents do not believe that the monitoring conducted by SEPA, is adequate.

“Over the years there have been many incidents which have resulted in excessive flaring and pollutant dispersal. A recent incident happened on the morning of 10th September of which SEPA was initially unaware, however, once brought to their attention, has resulted in Mossmorran being asked to keep their stack CCTV systems recording the stack, so it can be reviewed at a later date. This has only heightened the belief that there are not adequate safeguards for the communities adjacent to Mossmorran, the bypass and now the wind farm.”

She concluded, “Given the communities potentially affected by this issue I believe that the Cowdenbeath Area Committee should be involved in any decision which safeguards our communities health and well being.”

Meanwhile Steven Klein, CEO of Kennedy Renewables, who will be operating the Little Raith Wind Farm, has stressed that residents have nothing to fear from the operation of the power generation unit. The ninth and final turbine was completed at the beginning of the week.

He told the Times, “We have commissioned independent experts to analyse the Glasgow University report into the benzene issue highlighted, and apply it to the Little Raith site.

“These experts have confirmed that in this instance they feel there will be no increase in benzene levels, and if anything, there could be a decrease in levels in local communities as the wind turbines could slow down the movement of the air.

“We need to see the results of the benzene monitoring post construction, however, to confirm this. This is, of course, the purpose of the planning condition placed upon us with respect to the Little Raith Wind Farm planning consent. We would like to emphasise that Kennedy Renewables has an obligation to manage the wind farm so that the public is not endangered, and we will abide by this at all times, so the community can be assured that there is no risk to them, and should one be identified, it will be dealt with immediately”.

Source:  Central Fife Times & Advertiser | 17 October 2012 | www.centralfifetimes.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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