Thornton solar farm gets green light

The solar farm at Greenland Farm in Thornton has been approved.

The solar farm at Greenland Farm in Thornton has been approved.

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Plans to build a solar farm close to Thornton with the capacity to power 1000 local homes has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The 5mw energy facility, will be situated on what planners regard as “prime quality” agricultural land at Greenend Farm off Strathore Road.

It is the first of its type to be built in Fife.

Once built, the farm, made up of approximatly 5000 panels plus a number of transformer and substation buildings, will produce electicity that will be put into the national grid.

The proposal by West Strathore Solar Limited was warmly approved by the majority of the central area planning committee including Glenrothes councillor Kay Morrison.

“This is exactly the sort of initiative we should be considering and supporting,” she said.

Her sentiments were echoed by fellow Labour councillor John Wincott who said: “We don’t want wind farms because people think they don’t look nice, fracking because of the environmental concerns or coal mines because of effect on the landscape - sooner or later we’ll be having to switch the lights off.

“This is not going to have a huge visual impact.”

SNP councillor John Beare added: “The visual affect will have no more of an impact than that currently experienced by the use of poly tunnels and crop covering materials that farmers use to protect crops throughout the year. This application represents a different type of farming that will have no major impact on homes .”

The site is expected to take six weeks to construct resulting in approximately 108 HGV deliveries.

However the solar farm did not win the approval of every Glenrothes councillor.

Altany Craik said: “We have already industrialised part of the surrounding land with wind turbines, and now we are agreeing to do it to more agricultural land.

The impact will be significant and I am concerned with the commutative impact this will have on residents in that area. It’s ill thought out, opportunistic and the wrong sort of development in the wrong place.”

A £10,00 one-off fund is also to be made available by the applicant as a goodwill gesture to the community.