WEST FIFE farmers won't get their hands on Fife Council's grass clippings as 67 tonnes of it is being used to heat homes.

Former Dunfermline councillor Garry Haldane had asked the local authority if they could cut a deal to help the agricultural sector, as the war in Ukraine has pushed up the price of fertiliser.

But he's discovered the 45 metric tonnes of grass that's gathered every year in West Fife alone is helping to combat climate change instead.

Mr Haldane told the Press: "My original enquiry was asking if this grass could be used by our local farmers to help ease the cost of using fertiliser.

"Although I do understand this is not straightforward,I do believe that the conversation does need to begin, especially in these times of this cost-of-living crisis.

"Grass-cuttings can be a huge contribution to help farmers cut down on costs from buying in fertilisers from Russia and Ukraine."

However, team manager Stephen Duffy said the council was working to tackle the challenges of climate change in many ways.

He explained: "Where grass is cut in Fife, we look at different options to make best use of the cuttings.

"Last year, West Fife supplied 45.5 metric tonnes, from a total of 67.5 tonnes of grass-cuttings, to the Lochhead waste management site, where it's used to create heat for homes, helping reduce our carbon footprint in Fife."

The £15 million anaerobic digestion plant at Lochhead, the recycling centre north of Wellwood, was among the first of its kind in the UK when it was installed in 2013.

Food scraps and garden waste from the brown bins are broken down into methane and carbon dioxide, the methane is drawn off to generate electricity and a by-product is heat.

The electricity is sold to the National Grid and heat is piped into 11 buildings – as part of the Dunfermline District Heating Scheme – including Broomhead flats, the Carnegie Leisure Centre and Queen Anne High School.

However, it's not all been good news as there have been frequent complaints from residents in West Fife about the stink wafting down from Lochhead.

In October 2020, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said they had received "multiple reports" about a bad smell from the site.

At the time, Resource Efficient Solutions (now re-branded as Cireco), the arms-length organisation that runs the tip for the council, said this was down to "significant work onsite", including measures to improve gas capture.