Fife Council have recently submitted several planning applications across Fife for single turbines to be placed in a variety of places, including the Lochgelly High School and the Public Park.
The planning application for Lochgelly High School, is a screening opinion for a single wind turbine 50Kw (13/02763/SCR) at a height of 34.6m (113.6 ft) with such a low-rated capacity that it will qualify for the Feed-in-Tariff, another subsidy that is paid through our household energy bills, hitting the fuel poor the hardest, an issue that many Politicians and Councillors are ignoring.
The planning application for the Turbine at the Public Park, is to be located to the East of the Park alongside Melville Street, so will be potentially located in the red ash area which is used every year for the Lochgelly Gala, and used all year round by dog walkers, youths and horse riders.
The application (13/02767/SCR) is a screening opinion for a 20kw turbine at a height of 26.55m (87.1 ft), again this will be subsidised through household energy bills using the Feed-in-Tariff, which is essentially a stealth tax, that is indiscriminate on ability to pay.
At this point in the application process, no comments from the public are currently allowed.
Industrial turbines placed in schools is not a new idea, and is one that causes controversy on two accounts, (1) safety of children, and (2) impacts on birds.
Bird Deaths at School
In Southwell Community Primary School, Portland, headteacher Stuart McLeod was forced to arrive at school early every day to clear up the dead bodies of birds before these were spotted by the young pupils;
We’ve got the ideal location for wind power but unfortunately seagulls kept flying into it.
We were told by the manufacturer to expect maybe one fatality a year but it killed 14 in six months so we took advice and made the decision to turn it off.
If it had happened at night time you could understand that the birds couldn’t see the blades, which rotate at 135mph but it was happening at all different times of the day.
Mr Mcleod made the decision to switch the turbine off after being worried about the impact the bird deaths were having on the children, who were understandably getting upset when the deaths were happening during playtimes and lunchtimes.
Safety Issues of Turbines
There are many safety issues regarding wind turbine placement in close proximity to people, and one of the major concerns is the safety of the blades.
The Highlands are no stranger to safety concerns with turbines inappropriately located in schools, which saw 16 schools across the Highlands switch of their turbines after an incident whereby a similar turbine to those installed at the Highland schools, shed a blade which travelled 60 yards.
The turbine in Caithness broke up after it was hit by a gust of wind which led to parents voicing their fears that similar accidents could happen with the turbines at the schools.
We keep being told they are safe, but no one can guarantee that and I don’t want one of these blades flying into my grandson or any other child.
A turbine at Raasay Primary was removed from school grounds after it broke up in 2009. These safety issues are also relevant for the Public Park, an area that is used all year round and is a focal point for the Lochgelly Gala.
Public Park Redevelopment Plans
The red ash area, subject to consultation has already been earmarked for improvement by the Lochgelly Community Council with the area identified as having potential to be re-turfed for a sports field. The entire area at the Public Park has development plans being drawn up which includes new play park facilities, environmental planting schemes, and overall better usage of the current space.
Will these plans now be side-lined due to the possible turbine being developed on the site? If the final application is approved, the turbine will certainly impact on local residents and the enjoyment of the area, and would it be possible to hold a Gala next to a potentially dangerous noisy industrial machine?
Fife Council Turbines
The full list of applications submitted by Fife Council across Fife;
Land Adjacent To Beacon Swimming Pool Lammerlaws Road Burntisland Fife. 26.55m
Michael Woods Sports And Leisure Centre Viewfield Glenrothes Fife KY6 2RD. 45.5m
Kinghorn Golf Club Burntisland Road Kinghorn Burntisland Fife KY3 9RS. 34.6m
Ballast Bank Sports Pavilion Preston Crescent Inverkeithing Fife KY11 1DS. 26.55m
Dunfermline Public Park St Margarets Drive Dunfermline Fife KY12 7QL. 45.5m
Duffus Park Carslogie Road Cupar Fife. 34.6m
Fife Council Bankhead Central Bankhead Park Glenrothes Fife KY7 6GH. 34.6m
Land To The East Of Lochgelly Public Park Melville Street Lochgelly Fife. 26.55m
Memorial Park Park Place Thornton Fife. 34.6m
Cotlands Park Leven Road Kennoway Fife. 26.55m
Paton Street Park Paton Street Dunfermline Fife. 26.55m
St Columbas R C High Woodmill Road Dunfermline Fife KY11 4UN. 34.6m
Beath High School Foulford Road Cowdenbeath Fife KY4 9BH. 26.55m
Inverkeithing High School Hillend Road Inverkeithing Fife KY11 1PL. 26.55m
Lochgelly High School Station Road Lochgelly Fife KY5 8LZ. 34.6m
Camdean Primary School Kings Road Rosyth Dunfermline Fife KY11 2RY. 34.6m
Land To The West Of Primary School Park Road Rosyth Fife. 26.55m
Land To The South West Of West High Street Buckhaven Fife. 26.55m
Land To The East Of South Avenue Blairhall Fife. 26.55m
Land To The North Of Brighton Road Cupar Fife. 34.6m
Halbeath Park And Ride Dunfermline Fife KY11 7EJ. 45.5m
Considering that Cllr Alex Rowley was seeking a moratorium on wind turbine developments across Fife in 2012, this seems to be a complete turnaround;
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.
(Our bold for emphasis)
Once the bid for the moratorium failed Cllr ALex Rowley then announced the intention for Fife Council to construct wind turbines, as reported by the Courier; Harnessing wind power could net more than £20 million over the next two decades.
The profits involved in this type of technology are large
The profits are exceptionally large, which should be of no surprise considering that residents are forced to pay for the electricity generated from this technology, which developers often refer to as ‘free’ energy. We also have to pay for the Climate Change Levy Exemption charges, pay for the Renewable Obligation Certificates, pay for the Feed-in-Tariffs, and when the wind blows too much, we ironically have to pay constraint payments to switch the turbines off, all of which are paid through our energy bills.