A national anti-windfarm campaign group has slammed Fife Council for hatching “secret” plans for huge wind turbines and throwing public money at a “scam which promises a quick buck”.
Some 25 “screening” applications have appeared on the local authority’s planning website for turbines up to 150ft (45.5m) in height on a variety of sites, including schools, sports facilities and local parks.
Claiming there had been no consultation, Scotland Against Spin spokeswoman Linda Holt said people were “gobsmacked”.
She said council leader Alex Rowley has said the council was launching feasibility studies for very small turbines between five and 20 metres last March.
“The smallest of the proposed turbines that appeared yesterday is 26.55m, with most considerably larger,” she said.
“Anyone who knows Fife or has an ounce of planning knowledge will see that most of these sites are utterly wrong. Industrial turbines and people do not mix and the last places they should be put is by schools or in parks.
The campaigner believes many stood no chance of being approved as they were too close to communities and on sites with significant landscape protection.
“But the consultants and agents engaged by Fife Council will be handsomely paid whatever the outcome,” she added.
“Like a greedy, gullible farmer, Fife Council has fallen for the false promises of wind industry salesmen.
“Alex Rowley… promised a moratorium on wind development he knew the Scottish Government would never grant.
“Many voters thought him a hypocrite when he got into office and started promoting turbines in Fife, regardless of their impact on those who have to live with them but they never imagined he would jump on to the wind industry bandwagon with such contempt for the people of Fife.”
James Glen, of the Lochgelly community website Loch of Shining Waters, claimed the proposals were a slap in the face for the local community, especially those that he claimed had felt the negative impact of turbines.
“These monstrosities are nothing but a cash cow for the council,” he added
Proposals to develop small wind turbines on council land was agreed by the executive committee last March. Now screening applications have been lodged for individual small-scale developments on land where there is a council building.
“The council wants to make sure these proposed turbines are put in the right place so these applications follow on from a detailed feasibility study carried out by professional advisers during the last few months,” Mr Rowley said.
“The council is also no different from any other applicant and has to apply for permission for these small scale turbines and go through the rigorous planning process.
“But any decision to invest in these proposals would require approval from executive committee.”
He added: “My request for a moratorium on major onshore wind planning applications wasn’t supported by the Scottish Government but despite that, the council carried out a detailed consultation on its planning policies.
“During that process, issues and views raised by Fifers were addressed and influenced updates to strengthen the council’s policies, strategy and guidance on onshore wind turbines.
“Those strengthened guidelines and areas of search help us to ensure the council has greater power to protect our communities.”