Fife gas plant proposal raises concerns from residents

New concerns over proposals for former Westfield opencast colliery site regeneration.
New concerns over proposals for former Westfield opencast colliery site regeneration.

A decision on whether to approve controversial plans to build a gas peaking plant on the site of the former Westfield opencast colliery near Cardenden, will be taken next week.

The planning application for the plant, which has capacity for up to 10 gas engines, and with a gererating capacity of 19.96MW, will be determined by councillors when it comes before the central areal planning committee on March 4.

Fife Council planners have advised conditional approval of the application, despite concerns over its environmental impact voiced by communities close to the former opencast site.

The proposal attracted 31 objections with concerns over emmissions, lack of public consultation and the application falling outwith the wider Westfield masterplan already agreed by the council.

The gas plant proposal comes just a month after the planning committee gave the go ahead for a waste incinerator plant at the same site despite the public raising similar concerns.

In a report to the committee, case officer Martin McGroarty highlighted that while the peaking plant was not strictly in compliance with the development plan, the proposal was for a minor ancillary industrial use which represented a “good fit with the general area”.

However, the plans have attracted criticism from community leaders.

David Taylor, Cardenden Community Council secretary said: “It’s hugely dissappointing to see such a proposal just weeks after the incinerator was approved despite widespread opposition. This latest plant is not inclued within the masterplan which raises concerns for what other surprises Fife Council has with regard to Westfield.”