The action group set up to oppose plans for a windfarm in Auchtermuchty has submitted its formal objection.
Members of Auchtermuchty Landscape and Environment (ALE) have spent months producing a 20-page document which they hope will persuade councillors to refuse planning permission for the five-turbine project.
In the paper, ALE highlights a number of planning issues it claims have been violated by German-based firm Energie Kontor, which hopes to build the windfarm by Auchtermuchty Common.
“It was quite difficult to concentrate on planning matters, because some aspects we feel are important wouldn’t be considered as planning issues,” said ALE vice-chairman Graeme Whyte.
“None of the group are planning experts, so it’s been quite a steep learning curve for us.”
While most objectors to the project – for which a test mast is currently being erected – simply don’t like the idea of their surroundings being altered by 100-metre turbines, ALE has had to focus on much more specific grievances.
Arguments such as those which warn against the Howe of Fife’s rolling hills being “blighted” with a windfarm, or the perceived efficiency of wind energy, simply do not wash with planning committees, which is why ALE has spent so much time on the objection.
One of the group’s primary objections is that the energy firm submitted an application for the full windfarm before data from an anemometer mast was gathered.
It states: “This omission completely undermines the viability of the whole scheme.
“We question EnergieKontor’s motives in submitting the full planning application without waiting to gather the required data.
“We suggest that the application is refused on this basis.”
The group also points to issues such as visual amenity, wildlife preservation, health problems supposedly caused by low-level noise and the possibility of “ice-throw” during the winter months.
Before forming, the group carried out a survey which found only around 12 per cent of residents in favour of the proposal.
Chairman David White added: “We had to know ourselves that we were being representative of the people here, and our results prove that the majority of the residents in Auchtermuchty are opposed to this possible development.”
The full application for the windfarm should come before Fife Council’s east area development committee in the near future.
16 February 2007
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