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Methil turbine plan approved  

The controversial planning application to erect an 81-metre wind turbine at Methil Docks has been approved.

Councillors voted 5-2 in favour of the plan at a Levenmouth area committee meeting in Leven’s Carlow Hall this morning.

The decision followed the recommendation from Fife Council’s lead planning officer, Elsbeth Cook, that it be approved – with a string of conditions.

Ironically, Levenmouth’s elected representatives have chosen to say ‘aye’ to a structure that will dominate the area’s skyline for 25 years just as Scottish Power finalises its timetable for tearing down Methil Power Station’s chimney.

The turbine proposal had sparked fierce reaction from some parts of the community.

There were 338 letters of objection lodged with the local authority while just one letter of support was received.

Of the 338 letters, 314 were in the form of a standard letter signed by separate individuals with a further 24 individual submissions.

But, following consultations, Scottish Natural Heritage withdrew the objection it made to the plan while others, including Transportation Services, BEAR Scotland and Trunk Road Network Management, approved it with conditions.

SEPA and Environmental Services supported the plan while the RSPB and the Civil Aviation Authority offered comments.

The grounds for objection contained in the letters lodged at Fife House cover virtually every aspect of the turbine’s presence.

They included claims that the turbine was contrary to the draft supplementary guidance on wind energy, specifically the 1.5km distance between the structure and properties.

It was also said that the turbine was contrary to the Local Plan and Structure Plan policies on design and amenity.

Fears over the impact of shadow flicker, the noise of the turbine, television interference and the health problems associated with turbines had also been raised.

The turbine will be erected on a strip of ground lying between Dock No 3 and the sea wall, around 500 metres from the power station.

The turbine itself will be between 52 and 55 metres high with the blade itself being between 25 and 26 metres bringing the total potential size to 81 metres – virtually the same height as the power station chimney.

Fife Today

18 June 2008

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