Developers have been slammed for “cynical” plans to build a power plant at a proposed renewable energy park.
MSP Mark Ruskell said proposals for a gas-fuelled power station at the former Westfield opencast site should have been included when councillors approved plans for a green energy park at the site just two weeks ago.
Westfield Energy intends to install up to ten engines at the complex near Kinglassie, capable of providing huge quantities of electricity for the National Grid.
However, Mr Ruskell has claimed the plan goes against the spirit of the original application by site owner Hargreaves Services, by failing to focus on renewable fuels.
He said: “Councillors were quite rightly excited by the prospect of regenerating the Westfield site, with recycling facilities and a solar energy farm at the heart of the masterplan they voted through.
“There was no mention at all in the report put to the planning committee of a gas power plant. There is no reason why this could not have been incorporated into the plans at an early stage.
“This makes me suspect the whole masterplan was a cynical tactic to hide heavy, polluting industry behind the real potential for renewable energy production at the site.”
Councillors approved redevelopment plans last month which will see the 423-hectare Westfield site transformed with units for light industry and a huge solar farm, having sat dormant since mining ceased in 1998.
Powered by natural gas, the proposed power plant would produce energy that could be exported to the National Grid during periods of extreme demand.
Developers say the natural gas engines are more environmentally friendly than fuel oils and would only run for short periods of time, typically between 7 and 9am and 4 to 8pm.
With the developed site capable of delivering up to 2,500 jobs, Mr Ruskell added: “We fully support the redevelopment of Westfield and the creation of much needed jobs in the area, but the developers must stick to the original plans.
“The local community deserves to be part of the clean, green energy revolution taking place and not have yet more fossil fuel industry dumped on their doorsteps.”