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Wind farm developer accused of ‘desperate attempts’ to exaggerate support for plans  

Credit:  By Cheryl Peebles, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 4 March 2011 ~~

A wind farm developer has been accused of hiring lobbyists to back its bid to build turbines on a Fife hillside.

West Coast Energy is using PR firm Invicta Public Affairs as it attempts to gain planning permission for seven 120-metre high turbines on Clatto Hill, between Kennoway and Kingskettle.

Following a sudden spate of letters of support to Fife Council after several months of objections piling up, campaigners Clatto Landscape Protection Group claimed the firm was making “desperate attempts” to create the impression of support for its project.

The letters, as reported by The Courier, began arriving after street stalls were held. CLPG claims they are all very similar and express general support for wind energy with little reference to the specifics of the Clatto Hill project.

Chairman Greg Brown said, “The developer has hired a firm of lobbyists to try to build councillor and public support for an industrial scale project in a quiet rural residential area. Street stalls were set up in Leven and Kennoway, miles away from the proposal.

“The people invited to sign letters of support were only given limited details of the actual proposal. They were not told people lived in the area. The letters were doing no more than supporting renewable energy, which we all do.”

Mr Brown also claimed two public exhibitions the firm ran failed to state that people lived in the area of the proposed turbines.

However, in a statement released by Invicta, West Coast Energy defended its actions.

A spokesman said, “We received 188 letters of support for the project during the Yes2Wind campaign public information stalls set up recently in Kennoway and Leven. The stall locations were selected due to their close proximity to the proposed site – approximately 3km south – and the relevance of the proposals to residents in the area.

“Visitors were presented with a high level of information on the proposals including key documents, a summary of the proposal, photomontages and the non-technical summary of the environmental statement. The stalls were regarded as particularly useful and visitors were invited to sign letters of support if this was their viewpoint.

“The development has been widely publicised and public exhibitions were held most recently in Kingskettle and Kennoway in January. We continue to consult with the community to ensure they know and have a chance to comment on what is being proposed in their area.

“It is our desire to continue to engage with local residents and we welcome the opportunity to speak with CLPG about the proposals.”

A further three turbines measuring 100 metres are also proposed for Clatto Hill by farmer Douglas Rennie.

Source:  By Cheryl Peebles, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 4 March 2011

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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