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Protesters claim Clatto Hill turbines would pose threat to road safety  

Credit:  By Cheryl Peebles, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 23 September 2010 ~~

Turbines on a hillside between Kettlebridge and Kennoway could pose a hazard to motorists, it has been claimed.

Campaigners against two proposals for wind farms on Clatto Hill warned that the imposing structures – some 100m high and others 120m – could distract drivers on the road between Cults and Kennoway.

Two applications are awaiting consideration by Fife Council – one from West Coast Energy for seven turbines on the southern hillside and one from farmer Douglas Rennie for three turbines on the western slopes.

Clatto Landscape Protection Group, which fought off a ScottishPower bid several years ago to build a wind farm on the hill, is battling both schemes.

Chairman Greg Brown suggested there were major road safety implications for those using the C30 route.

He said, “This is a narrow road with blind summits and bends over its length. This means that turbines will come into view suddenly in several places. Common sense suggests that they will inevitably distract drivers.”

Mr Brown said official guidance advises any turbines should be seen first from a long way off and gradually come into close view.
Hazards

“The C30 is already a road with many hazards. Every year many vehicles land up in the ditches and fields by the road. It is rarely gritted in icy or snowy conditions.”

“It makes no sense to add to the dangers with driver distraction from very large wind turbines.”

Mr Brown accused both applicants of ignoring the issue, which was a matter of local concern, and called for police to investigate.

West Coast Energy, an agent for East Fife Wind Energy in the application, said it would work to address all issues raised during consultation and that concerns about driver distraction would be fully considered.

Planning and development manager Jonathan Cawley said there was little in the way of formal guidance on driver distraction in Scotland. However, he pointed to English policy which stated turbines are not particularly hazardous and drivers are responsible for their own safety.
Distraction

Independent research, he said, showed there was no significant difference in accident rates before and after turbines were erected.

He added, “While we don’t consider driver distraction to be a problem at the proposed site, as with all issues relating to this site we are more than happy to enter into a dialogue with the council and any other relevant consultees to discuss this issue in further detail.

“We will of course take any comments raised by Fife Council transportation services into account.”
Green Cat Renewables is representing Mr Rennie and its director Gavin Catto said, “Driver distraction can be an issue with wind turbines.

“There are lots of narrow winding roads near wind turbines and there is no evidence of increased risk to motorists in these situations.

“It will be up to transportation officials to assess this.”

Source:  By Cheryl Peebles, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 23 September 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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