THERE is a "strong feeling" that the voice of Kincardine folks was ignored in the wake of the Longannet power plant closure, according to a commission.

The Just Transition Commission, which was set up by the Scottish Government to advise on a net-zero carbon economy that is fair for all, said the Longannet Task Force "missed an opportunity" after the coal-fired power station closed.

In its Interim Report, the commission explained that while there was success in managing the immediate job losses, the wider economic questions were not addressed.

It said: "There was a general consensus that the task force had largely been successful in managing the immediate threat of loss of jobs at the site.

"The task force brought together local and national government with trade unions, the private sector, and agencies like Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise to deliver a coordinated response to closure.

"Figures presented to us by Fife Council demonstrated that a high proportion of former workers at the site had ended up in positive destinations following the closure, and many had been offered early retirement by the company managing the site."

And added: "However, it was interesting to contrast this perspective with voices from the nearby Kincardine community. Here we found the strong feeling that the voice of people from the surrounding area was not heard in the process of planning the response to the closure.

"As a consequence, there was a feeling that the task force missed an opportunity to address wider questions of economic development and empowerment in the area."

The former power station site is set to be transformed into Talgo's train manufacturing plant which will create 1,000 direct jobs and thousands more in the supply chain once the Spanish company have secured a contract.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) has also been highly active in the area, indeed, it moved its Scottish headquarters to the town, creating a skills and enterprise hub along with it while taking over a derelict building.

Pauline Douglas, head of operations Scotland at CRT, claimed that residents in Kincardine now felt "neglected".

She said: "Although £2.7 million was invested into the region to support a recovery after the closure, many of the villages have missed out.

"At CRT, we were able to use the investment to open our community hub in Kincardine, which has provided a skills boost to local people, but much of the wider investment seems to have gone elsewhere.

"We know that the local pubs and cafes are quieter and some have closed down.

"The village feels neglected, as does wider South West Fife."

MSP Mark Ruskell spoke out after the report was made public, saying it showed there was "nothing just" about the way the power plant was closed.

He added: "It is great news that Talgo are now set to provide low-carbon jobs in Fife, but the community should have had more support over the last few years.

"The Longannet Taskforce had a £2m budget, but the community in Kincardine hasn't seen any of that. The proposed industrial units for the village ended up being built 15 miles away in Dalgety Bay.

"No community should be left behind, which is why the Scottish Government needs to be more honest with them and start planning long-term futures now."