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Campaigners say councillors need to be given complete picture of Fife’s wind turbines

Fife Council has been urged to publish accurate maps of wind turbines erected or planned in the region so decision makers can better judge their cumulative impact.

East Fife Turbine Awareness Group criticised the level of information provided to councillors as they approve or reject planning applications for developments.

It has produced its own map which charts turbines permitted and proposed around east Fife but it has demanded more visual data be presented to councillors to ensure they have the full picture before they decide whether or not yet another of the structures can be erected.

It claimed turbines had been rubber-stamped previously by councillors who were not properly informed.

A spokesman said: “We urge Fife Council to get a grip of the situation. With farmers desperate to cash in on wind-turbine subsidies before they are cut, we will see more and more applications for one or two turbines.

“Competent planning decisions cannot be made without accurate, up-to-date mapping and this must be an absolute priority for the planning department.”

The group spoke out following a debate at the council’s north-east planning committee about two 88-ft high turbines at Beley Farm, Dunino.

Members rejected the planning application, partly on the grounds of cumulative impact when viewed alongside the six 330-ft high turbines St Andrews University has been given the green light to build at nearby Kenly Farm.

A report to the committee included 20 turbines which had been either approved or were in the planning process within a 5km radius of Beley Farm.

Although a graphic was shown pinpointing planned and approved turbines, concerns were voiced by members that no map was provided in the papers sent out to them ahead of their meeting.

There was also a request for councillors to be briefed generally on the cumulative impact of developments.

Fife Council service manager Alastair Hamilton responded: “All planning application files including wind turbine proposals are publicly available online from the point of registration. All maps, plans and most documents are also available for all those with access to the internet to view.

“Information is updated daily so the online case file is effectively a live document. Members of planning committees are also notified in advance of the applications proposed to be on a planning committee agendas to enable them to view specific information relating to the applications prior to the meeting.

“In addition, a presentation providing information and details of cases is presented at the meetings together with specific maps indicating the nearest wind turbines.

“Fife Council has also developed an interactive geographic information system, which provides information of all wind turbines approved and in the planning process across Fife.

The system is linked to the planning application database and is, therefore, accurate and up to date.

“The GIS mapping database of wind turbine applications available to the people of Fife is one of only a few such online systems across Scotland.

“Following the debate at Wednesday’s north-east planning committee meeting, additional discussions will be taking place with north-east planning committee members to determine what other additional information they consider would assist them to determine applications for what can be a complex subject area.”