The Lochgelly Community Council are seeking support from the local community, to help with their petition for permanent Air Quality Monitoring Stations to be placed in Lochgelly, to provide the local community with safety protection measures from the pollutants dispersed by the Fife Ethylene Plant.

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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SEPA raised concerns that the development of the Little Raith Wind Farm would negatively impact on the local area due to the placement next to the petrochemical plant.

Research was conducted by Dr Timothy Fletcher and Professor Richard Brown from the Aerospace of Engineering at the University of Glasgow, which concluded that there is a risk of pollutants being dispersed in higher concentrations in the local area.

Further research has also stated that this is an acknowledged environmental impact.

A recent letter from SEPA to an MSP investigating the issues on behalf of a local constituent states;

SEPA recommended a monitoring strategy that would use a time based automatic monitor that would be able to detect subtle changes in hydrocarbons; these data would then be used to see if the wake from the wind turbines was having an impact on the dispersion of pollutants in the atmosphere. However the developer appealed the planning condition stating that the condition was too onerous and the appeal was upheld. The Council then introduced a planning requirement for the applicant to monitor benzene using passive diffusion tubes before and after the construction of the wind farm. Whilst these data would show changes in the annual mean concentrations, they cannot show the subtle changes that we would need to fully asses the effect on emissions.

Dod Kinnell from the Lochgelly Community Council responded “Local Democracy has been overridden, and our protections removed due to Government edict. Therefore, as a community, we need to seek alternative safety measures to be placed in the local community to protect residents

The Community Council voted unanimously to champion for permanent Air Quality Monitoring Stations, to monitor local air quality and pollution levels. The campaign was initially started by a local group, Loch of Shining Waters, but we felt, as a Community Council which is legally recognised by Fife Council and the Scottish Government as local representatives, we should be very proactive in investigating local concerns and taking the lead to find solutions to ease the stresses placed on the community from the Fife Ethylene Plant and the Wind Farm

The Lochgelly project has had many local concerns raised to them online, and residents, airing their concerns, have also approached several Community Councillors.

James Glen, voluntary co-ordinator of Loch of Shining Waters, further adds ‘We are glad that the Community Council has decided to take on this challenge, and lead the charge for Air Quality stations to be placed in the local area. Our group feels this is a very proactive and progressive step by the Community Council, and our voluntary team will provide all the support we can’.

Dod Kinnell states ‘As local representatives we are keen to hear local views and concerns, and to work towards easing those concerns for the improvement of the local area.

It will take time, and not happen overnight, but we have given the Lochgelly residents a strong commitment to finding answers and solutions to their concerns. As part of our commitment we will be seeking the Air Quality Stations to be implemented locally, as a first step. Further down the line we will also be looking to work even closer with the local community to fully quantify the range of local concerns, and have these addressed in order of importance.

Community Councillors will be going door to door, seeking signatories for their petition, and hope local residents that have raised their concerns, will continue to show their support and sign the petitions.

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2 Comments

  1. chic

    October 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    i hope the petition regarding the air monitoring is held throughout all the local communities so as many people as possible can participate and have there say , also it would help considerably if it was published in the local media so as many people as possible know of it.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      October 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      We feel that the air quality issue should be addressed for all communities affected. We’ve managed to get the Lochgelly Community Council on board, and we will be contacting other Community Councils to see if they will lead the petition in their own communities, and hopefully get the communities working together for some resolutions to all our local concerns.

      Reply

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