Massive profits but not for communities!
As the numbers of land based wind turbine applications continues to grow across Fife, Fife Council has now put in place a review of the current guidelines and landscape capacity assessment for land based turbines that will see a far reaching consultation take place across Fife and lead to a framework that sets out what areas are to be protected and give a clearer indication of where turbines could potentially be located.
I have also written to the Scottish government Minster for Local Government, Derek Mackay MSP raising his concern that ‘the increase in such applications is making it challenging for both Council staff and key consultees to process the applications, engage adequately with developers and community groups, and ensure that a full and adequate cumulative impact test can be carried out, particularly when there are multiple applications within the same area.
I have also sought the support of the Scottish Government to give the Council the ability to impose a temporary moratorium on determining planning applications for major commercial onshore Wind farms for a period of six months.
I would want to be clear, we are not opposed to wind turbines for the sake of it, however it is important that we set out clear guidelines as to where is acceptable for the large industrial structures to be built. We do have current policy on this but it is clear that many of those developers who wish to take advantage of the massive profits to be had are ignoring those guidelines and trying to push on offering in many case to make small amounts of money available to local communities. We therefore need a framework linked into the local Development Plan that gives the Council the ability to refuse such applications at a much earlier stage.
The Central Fife Times highlighted last week, the plans of Banks Renewable to build a Wind Farm on the edge of Kelty. As a local councillor for Kelty I am highlighting this example as one that does not meet the current guidelines and is a perfect example of developers ignoring the current policy. Kelty is being surrounded by applications to build these industrial structures this one is a perfect example of developers simply ignoring the advice they are being given. The proposed site sits on the edge of the Country Park and is close to the village. These reasons alone mean it is ruled out as an acceptable site and should be recommended for refusal on solid planning grounds and yet the developer comes along trying to offer all sorts of inducements creating uncertainty. This is out of order and is why the Scottish Government must support us to deal with such applicants who are simply unwilling to accept the clear policy guidelines, and this is also why we need an updated framework built into the Development Plan that can protect communities from such behaviour.
I am also highlighting the levels of profits involved and believe this is the main reason for so many applications coming forward. Because of the massive subsidies that tax payers are paying into the hand of the profiteers we are seeing this kind of behaviour. I want communities to know the levels of profits being taken from these industrial turbines and I am exploring how we can develop community energy companies that can, where a development is permitted, ensure more of the massive profits go back to the local communities.
Fife Councils Executive Committee approved a report on the 28th of June that set out how the review would take place, approved an extensive consultation and agreed that the Council leader write to the Scottish Government requesting a temporary moratorium on applications for land based turbines until the strategic guidance can be updated.