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Big argument over Little Raith wind farm near Mossmorran

Archived from Sep 2014

THE Little Raith windfarm extension near Mossmorran is dividing opinion with more than 100 objections and expressions of support for the proposal.

Operators Kennedy Renewables want to increase the number of sky-high turbines at the site from nine to 15 and submitted a planning application in July.

The structures would be 126.5 metres tall – the new plans also include a visitor and education centre – and help provide an additional £2.5million for local communities.

But the plans have proved hugely controversial with more than 100 objections, while Edinburgh Airport, campaign group Spot Fife and Cowdenbeath Community Council are against the extension.

On the other side, there are those who back the plans and Fichtner Consulting Engineers handed in a petition with 102 names of “local residents and businesses” who were in favour.

Fife Council will take the decision on whether to allow the extension.

Cowdenbeath community councillors voted not to support the proposals after asking the opinions of around 400 residents of the town.

They said that 37 per cent of those canvassed were against the windfarm plans, 16 per cent said they would support them and the rest were “not fussy”.

Among the reasons given for opposing the extension were: the visual impact; a feeling of “being surrounded by wind turbines”; possible distraction to motorists; proximity to homes: health concerns; and concerns that the proposed turbines do not conform to guidelines.

They also added that the Scottish Government has called for an investigation into the impact of wind turbines on communities and the planning application should not be considered until the results are known.

Community council secretary Christine Gourlay said, “This was the final outcome of our deliberations on the topic and this information has been relayed to our elected councillors and Fife Council planners.” Jonny Kennedy, managing director of Kennedy Renewables, previously told the Press, “Our extension project will allow us to deliver a further £2.5 million of community benefit funding to the local area as well as strengthen our partnerships with Cowdenbeath FC and Fife College.

“It will ensure that we can build on the £1.23m in community benefit we have already committed to date, not to mention the £20m we have invested in the Fife economy with our existing wind farm.

“With an extension to Little Raith Wind Farm we can and will do much more for the local community and the wider Fife economy.” However, there has been vocal opposition from James Glen, secretary of Lochgelly community council, and Linda Holt, spokesperson for national anti-wind farm campaign group Scotland Against Spin.

He had accused the company of “breathtaking arrogance” and said, “Kennedy Renewables know from their community consultations that locals absolutely do not want any more industrial turbines near their communities.” Referring to the financial incentives, Ms Holt had said, “Bribes like this make it much harder for people to decide on an application on purely planning grounds, which is of course what the developer wants, especially if the planning grounds for a wind farm like this one are so weak.”

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