Residents left fuming over biomass plant proposal for Fife town

More than 100 residents packed a public meeting to voice their concerns of the new biomass plant proposal. (Pic George McLuskie).
More than 100 residents packed a public meeting to voice their concerns of the new biomass plant proposal. (Pic George McLuskie).

Residents in a Fife town are fuming over a proposal to build a biomass plant close to a residential community.

Around 100 people packed into the Exit Community Centre in Glenrothes on yesterday evening (Tuesday) to voice concerns over the controversial planning application to site a 19.8MW Biomass plant in Southfiled Industrial Estate in the town.

Finglassie resident Mike Ward makes his point at the public meeting. (Pic George McLuskie).

Finglassie resident Mike Ward makes his point at the public meeting. (Pic George McLuskie).

The plant, if granted, is to be sited on land west of Witworth Street and will also incorporate a 60 metre high stack. The facility would operate using agricultural and forestry materials which would be otherwise wasted.

Numerous residents voiced concerns over emissions and the possible threat to health, as well as the proximity to nearby homes, should the planning proposal be granted.

Many have also been angered aver the lack of public awareness given to the project and the public consultation that is due to end this weekend.

“This is bad news and will affect many residents, why have Fife Council failed to notify the public about this proposal?,” said Finglassie resident Mike Ward.

Councillors adressing the packed public meeting at the Exit Community Centre on Tuesday evening. (Pic George McLuskie).

Councillors adressing the packed public meeting at the Exit Community Centre on Tuesday evening. (Pic George McLuskie).

While another resident was applauded when called the consultation process “a sham” after the Fife authority accidentally closed off planning website stopping the public from being able to resister objections online.

Many had only learned of the biomass plans 24 hours before when one resident posted a letter to nearby homes.

Glenrothes councillors Altany Craik and Bill Brown, who both sit on the Central Area Planning Committee - the body that would decide on whether to go ahead with the proposal, attended the meeting, addressing concerns, explaining the planning process and informing residents how they could formally lodge their objections.

Members of the Pitteuchar, Stenton and Finglassie Community Council were also on hand to offer support.

The company behind the bid, Glenrothes Biomass Energy (GBE), a division of Sainc Energy Limited, say the £70m project would bring as many as 120 new jobs to the area if the plans were given the green light.

However, with the desire to site earmarked for land currently owned by Fife Council, many have suggested it is already a “done-deal”.

“Money talks and we all know the Council are in dire straits financially,” said one angry resident.

“This proposal has as much to offer the Council as it does the developer, what reassurances are we going to get that this isn’t already agreed?”

The public will have until Saturday, May 6 in which to log formal objections or comment on the proposal.