One of our volunteers was in attendance at the last Community Council meeting held at the Royal Oak Community Club (12th September 2012), to raise concerns regarding the Air Quality levels in Lochgelly and surrounding communities, and to seek the Community Council to take some form of action to help protect the residents of Lochgelly from the potential negative impacts of pollutant dispersal from Mossmorran interacting with the Wind Turbines at Little Raith.

The issue was raised by Community Councillor Dodd Kinnell, with further input from Brian Schulz and Eileen McKenna, as the three most vocal supporters of the petition, with additional concerns raised by our volunteer, James Glen.

Dodd Kinnell proposed that the Community Council should be leading the petition, and seeking action for permanent monitoring stations to be placed in Lochgelly, which was seconded by several Community Councillors, and passed unanimously by the entire Community Council. The Community Council also recognised the need to address local concerns but to also conduct a form of public consultation to clearly identify the local concerns regarding the Mossmorran complex.

Since the Community Council is legally recognised as official spokespersons for the local community, this is an important change to the campaign, as the Community Council has access to various channels not open to our group, and can therefore have a higher chance of achieving the aim of installing permanent monitoring stations in the local community.

The Community Council will now be working on a plan of action, while consulting with individuals and groups, to start collating existing and known data. It was stated that there will be a public statement from the Community Council as well as some form of public consultation.

Air Quality Monitoring

We are deeply concerned that wind turbines around the Mossmorran complex may increase benzene (a known carcinogen) and other pollutants in higher concentrations in the local area, as identified in the research conducted by the University of Glasgow, putting the health of the surrounding communities at even greater risk.

Currently, one wind farm developer has to temporarily monitor Benzene & air pollutant levels, but this monitoring will only provide small reassurance and limited protections for the duration of the required monitoring. Mossmorran pollutant dispersal and flaring events do not happen on a constant basis, therefore, any benzene & air pollutant monitoring program on a temporary basis is useless, and only provides limited reassurances to the local communities affected, for the duration dates that the monitoring is taking place.

We, the undersigned, request that Air Quality monitoring stations are built in Lochgelly, Lumphinnans, Cowdenbeath and Auchtertool, to monitor Benzene & pollution levels from the Mossmorran plant for the lifetime of any wind turbines built around the Mossmorran complex. When all wind turbines are decommissioned, the monitoring stations should be left in place, until the Mossmorran complex is decommissioned. The placement of the monitoring stations, should be decided by the local communities, through extensive consultations with the public by the local authority or the Scottish Government.

All data collected by the monitoring stations should be made publicly available, online and offline, to allow individuals and other interested parties, to examine and monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.

This will help to clearly quantify the risks associated with inappropriate turbine placement next to industrial sites that disperse pollutants, and help provide reassurance that (a) the Benzene & pollutant risk is being taken seriously by the local authority and (b) the risk of benzene & pollutant poisoning is clearly quantified, openly and transparently.

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However, with the public consultation this will take time to put together as the Community Councillors will have to generate public support, check procedures, and start networking/communicating with all the various groups connected to the Mossmorran complex, such as Fife Council and SEPA. This will take time, so a full consultation will not happen anytime soon, but it will happen.

In the meantime, the Community Council will be distributing the petitions locally, and have also agreed to go door to door seeking signatures, at which point people will be able to raise any concerns they have, which will be fed back to the entire Community Council, and will help towards the full public consultation.

One aspect of the local initiative that will be changed, is that Loch of Shining Waters can no longer be an official spokesperson for the campaign, and all inquiries will have to be passed through the Community Council for any official statement. We have agreed to provide any support we can to help the Community Council achieve the aim for permanent monitoring stations, which will include media support, publicity, and continue to provide feedback regarding any local concern which has been raised to us through the site.

With Lochgelly Community Council taking a proactive stance regarding Air Quality concerns due to the Mossmorran complex coupled with Little Raith wind farm, we feel this is an important step, and we are happy to provide any support that they require, and we strongly encourage the local community to continue their support of the campaign, and towards the Community Council.

We are happy to have got the ball rolling, and if we can all work together, we can help the Community Council to take the ball to the goal line. Well done to all the Lochgelly Community Councillors for stepping up to the plate, at a time when the local community needs their representation the most.

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