Gordon Brown MP has met local campaigners protesting against the construction of wind farms at the Blairadam Forest and Outh Muir.
The protesters, from SPOT Fife, a group of West Fife residents who came together in 2011 because of a concern about wind farm applications, have campaigned over two adjacent, but separate, wind farms locally and have secured the support of a number of community councils.
Mr Brown met the group and said afterwards he was “impressed by their research and concern for the amenities of the area”.
The campaign highlights planning applications for Blairadam where there has been a plan for 11 115 metre (377ft) turbines and Cleish Hills, Outh Muir – by Knockhill Racing Circuit – with an original plan for five 110m (361ft) turbines.
Mr Brown was told by the campaigners that Fife Council had agreed new ‘Guidance on Wind Energy’ in June which shows where turbines are and are not able to be accommodated.
Protected areas they say include a two-kilometre buffer zone from settlements and designated areas such as Local Landscape Areas.
The campaigners stated that because of ecology including birds, bats, water, peat, tourism and local walks, Fife Council’s guidance deem the sites at Blairadam and Outh as having no capacity for turbines and should not be developed for wind energy.
SPOT Fife said that there’s an estimated 40,000 visitors to Blairadam Forest each year and that there are many European protected species on the site including bats, birds and otters.
They added that the nearest dwellings were only 600 metres away and reminded councillors that an application for a single 67-metre turbine was refused on appeal in 2011 on a site less than two kilometres away from the proposed wind farm.
Mr Brown was also informed that Scottish Wildlife Trust conducted a straw poll search for the number of wind turbine applications, for turbines over 15m, received by four councils over two years.
The results show that Fife Council has had 138 applications, Perth and Kinross 58, East Lothian 40, Stirling 29. Stirlingshire covers a larger land area than Fife and has a smaller population; Perth and Kinross is considerably larger than Fife; and only East Lothian is smaller.