A Scottish Government reporter has now begun to consider whether the proposed Auchtermuchty windfarm would be “landscape on loan” or a “visual disaster”.
The public inquiry into EnergieKontor’s application to build five wind turbines at Rossie ended with closing submissions in Auchtermuchty’s Victoria Hall on Tuesday, followed by a site visit.
Reporter David Gordon said a decision on the issue could be expected in about two months.
EnergieKontor’s counsel David Hardy said the windfarm would represent “an alteration but not a loss” of landscape.
“I have heard it described elsewhere as landscape on loan rather than landscape lost,” he said.
Mr Hardy emphasised the nearby Common would still be available for walking and other recreational activities if the windfarm went ahead.
However, four other closing submissions opposed Energie Kontor’s plan, which came to an inquiry after the company appealed to the then Scottish Executive on the grounds of non-determination.
Auchtermuchty Community Association chairman, Andy Heer, said the Rossie site was inappropriate and the turbines would dominate the landscape.
“The application is for five structures, each of the height of a 14-storey building,” he said.
“It is for what is effectively an industrial development in a rural setting.
“It does not follow that just because renewable energy is thought to be ‘a good thing’, that all windfarm applications are equally ‘a good thing’.”
Fife Council advocate Maurice O’Carroll said pursuing Government targets in favour of renewable energy had to be balanced with the effects on the immediate environment.
Recalling an earlier inquiry statement that ‘one cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs’, Mr O’Carroll said: “This represents a lot of eggs for only a very small omelette.”
Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo Community Council chair David Cowling said the windfarm would have an unacceptable noise impact on the burgh and its people.
“In a world in which noise pollution . . . is ever growing, it appears to me then to be wholly unsatisfactory that a new and known source of noise should be wilfully located immediately adjacent to an ancient royal burgh with a population of over 2000 people,” he said.
Auchtermuchty Landscape and Environment Group vice-chairman Graeme Whyte, reading a submission prepared by John Campbell QC, said the windfarm would be a “landscape and visual disaster”.
“Both current energy and current planning policy, not to say the application of sound common sense all strike against this type of development in this location,” he said.
By Janet Howie
24 January 2008
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