The backlash against a deal for communities near Lingo to receive financial benefits if a controversial windfarm is built has continued with a community councillor claiming to have been sidelined by the process.
Janice Furness, a member of the Boarhills and Dunino Community Council (BDCC), wrote to the Citizen this week to express her anger that a deal had been announced by West Coast Energy (WCE), the company behind the Lingo windfarm scheme.
This follows earlier criticisms of the deal from Cameron Community Council and two members of the Lingo Windfarm Community Benefit Forum (LWCBF) who also claimed to have been excluded from the recent talks.
The agreement announced by WCE would see 10 per cent of the net profits from the scheme going to projects in the community council areas of Carnbee and Arncroach, Largoward and District, Boarhills and Dunino as well as Cameron.
But Ms Furness believes that members of the LWCBF have been ignored and a new group set up without their consent.
“I am appalled at what has been going on,” she explained.
“Boarhills and Dunino Community Council (BDCC) took the difficult decision when the forum was first set up that they should be part of it.
“The community had voted 70 per cent against windfarms in their area and the community council wrote to Fife Council opposing the Lingo plans, but felt they should be there to ensure the best deal was achieved should permission be granted.
“I attended the meeting on April 25 as a BDCC representative but my name is not on the list of those present and neither are those of two other Boarhills residents I went with.
“The list also includes a Boarhills resident whose name I do not recognise, and who is not on the electoral roll.”
Ms Furness said she had been waiting to hear when the next meeting would be when she found out a deal had already been agreed and announced.
She added: “I am shocked at this process.”
Responding to Ms Furness’s comments, a spokesman for a body called the Arncroach and Carnbee Community Development Trust Benefits Sub-Group said: “We came into being as a result of the Lingo Windfarm Community Benefit Forum.
“All local community councils and groups were invited to be part of the forum so we could discuss and decide the best way for this community benefit to be distributed, and create a group to take this forward.
“This is what we have achieved with the creation of the Benefit Sub-Group. Some community councils and individuals decided not to be part of the forum, however, and we respect that decision.
“The objective is for the community benefit agreement to be shared fairly and equally between each of the four community council areas involved, if the Lingo windfarm is consented.
“We hope representatives from Boarhills and Dunino Community Council are able to attend next week’s meeting and look forward to having the opportunity to discuss this with them further.”
n See letter on page 14