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Windfarm firm hits back after storm of criticism against Fife expansion plan

Archived from 2014

Last week opponents of Little Raith Windfarm, on the outskirts of Cowdenbeath, hit out at plans to extend the site from nine turbines to 15.

Linda Holt of the Scotland Against Spin campaign group said Kennedy Renewables’ offer of community benefits from the site amounted to a “bribe” to discourage any objectors.

James Glen, secretary of Lochgelly Community Council, made a scathing attack on the firm, talking of its unbridled greed and adding the windfarm was “a licence to rob consumers”.

Mr Glen, who runs community website Loch of Shining Waters, also attacked the £49,000 per year given to the community from an alleged £6 million per annum income.

However, the firm’s managing director Jonny Kennedy has spoken out about their allegations, saying he was disappointed they had “chosen to attack my company with such intemperate language”.

He said the firm had regularly made itself available to all interested parties since it bought the site in 2010.

He added: “There appears to be a reluctance by Mr Glen and Ms Holt to talk to us directly.”

Mr Kennedy added the firm held its regular community liaison forum meeting last week, which had been attended by a range of people.

“I offered last year, when we announced the extension project, to go with Mr Glen to meet with any local resident in Lochgelly who may have felt that the amenity of their home was being compromised by our existing Little Raith windfarm,” he said.

“However, I am yet to be taken up on my offer. That offer remains open to Mr Glen if he wishes to accept.”

Mr Kennedy said he believed this would be a far better way to address any concerns the community may have and it would allow him to judge for himself any issues perceived to be having an impact.

“I am proud of our record in the local area,” he said.

“Little Raith windfarm is delivering considerable benefits to the communities of central Fife though our partnerships with the Four Winds Development Trust, the Cowdenbeath FC Youth Academy and Fife College’s wind turbine technician training programme.”

He added that since the operation started in 2012, Kennedy Renewables had provided the trust with almost £97,000 of community benefit funding, of which nearly £30,000 has been distributed to 28 community groups across all four communities.

“We would like to commend the trust for their efforts to date and we look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure local good causes get the support they deserve,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Our extension project will allow us to deliver a further £2.5m of community benefit funding to the local area, as well as strengthen our partnerships with Cowdenbeath FC and Fife College.

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

“With an extension to Little Raith windfarm, we can and will do much more for the local community and the wider Fife economy.”

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