The prospect of a wind farm is again looming over Fife’s Clatto Hill, almost three years after a previous bid was ditched amid strong protest.
West Coast Energy has confirmed that the hill, between Cupar and Kennoway, is one of several sites in Fife which it is looking at.
The North Wales firm is behind the first wind farm in Fife to be granted planning permission—at Little Raith, near Cowdenbeath, and is seeking to add to its portfolio in the area.
It has already erected a small anemometer mast on the hill to gauge wind speed and may be about to submit a planning application for a larger mast.
West Coast Energy land development manager Neil Exton confirmed that Clatto Hill was being considered as a site for a wind farm but stressed work was in the very early stages.
He said, “We are looking all over Scotland for wind energy development sites. We are working in Fife on a number of options.
“This is part of a programme we are carrying out throughout the UK, assessing potential wind energy sites to help meet the Government’s targets on renewable energy.”
Stating that Clatto Hill was among the options, he added, “It is very, very early days.”
Numerous environmental factors and feasibility had to be assessed before sites were selected.
The firm’s existing wind farms range from between three and 20 turbines but Mr Exton gave no indication of how many would be proposed for Clatto Hill if the project was taken forward.
Previous plans for 17 turbines on Clatto Hill were vigorously fought by the Clatto Landscape Protection Group after they were revealed by Scottish Power in 2003.
The wind farm was ruled out by Fife Council’s now disbanded environment and development committee but Scottish Power appealed against the decision with the then Executive.
A public inquiry was to be held at the end of 2005 but was abandoned when Scottish Power pulled out, citing as reasons delays in the process and an increase in rates.
Fife Council is aware of West Coast Energy’s interest in Clatto Hill and has been monitoring the existing anemometer mast which was reported to it amid doubts over the necessity for planning permission.
Development promotion and design team leader Alastair Hamilton said, “West Coast Energy had erected the temporary anemometer mast for 28 days as a trial as they are allowed to do under permitted development.
“It is our understanding that West Coast Energy intends to submit a planning application for the erection of an anemometer mast.”
Another north-east Fife community is waiting to hear whether it will get a wind farm as neighbour. EnergieKontor wants to erect five turbines at Gathercauld, near Ceres.
By Cheryl Wood
15 July 2008
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