Jobs boost as wind farm gets go-ahead

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PLANS to build a wind farm spanning 185 hectares to the north of Kirkcaldy were given the go-ahead this week after getting the final backing needed from Fife Council.

It will see eight 120m turbines built at the Earlseat Farm area just off Standing Stanes Road.

And that in turn will create a ground-breaking apprenticeship scheme with Adam Smith College.

The maintenance of the eight wind turbines will generate 125 apprenticeship over the next 25 years, in the first tie-in of its kind in the UK.

The £25.3 million project is also likely to create around 30 construction jobs, with developers hoping it will be up and running by the end of next year or beginning of 2013.

The planning application was agreed by the Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday, after being tentatively passed with numerous conditions by the three area committees it straddles - Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Levenmouth.

Quality

Dominic Farrugia, director of developers Carbon Free, told the Press he was delighted with the decision.

He said: “We welcome the opportunity to develop in Fife and we have always said we want to develop the best quality project we can.

“The funds that will flow from this wind farm will help build a skilled workforce that, in turn, will attract other employers and investors to Fife building its reputation as a renewables hub.”

The turbines will be visible from as far afield as the A921 Kirkcaldy to Kinghorn road, and even sparked concern from East Lothian Council that they would spoil views from the coastline over to Fife. Scottish Natural Heritage had initially objected to the proposals, but withdrew its objections while still voicing concerns over the landscape impact.

Members of the planning committee passed the application with almost 50 conditions.

Dr Craig Thomson, principal of Adam Smith College, welcomed the developer’s commitment to the apprenticeship scheme.

He added: “This gives the green light to an apprenticeship scheme that will bring real benefit to Fife and will provide people with the technical skills that Scotland’s renewables industry will need to prosper.

“The scheme will also add further to our capacity to address engineering skills gaps and ensure that employers have the relevant and talented workforce they need.”