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Clatto wind farm objectors think blimp would bring home height concerns

Campaigners fighting the installation of wind turbines on a Fife hillside want to fly a huge blimp to show how high the structures would be.

Clatto Landscape Protection Group (CLPG) is up in arms at plans for 10 turbines 120 and 100 metres tall on Clatto Hill, between Kingskettle and Kennoway. The group believes the massive windmills would be seen from all around and has asked for permission for the installation of a blimp to illustrate their potential visibility.

Behind plans for the seven larger turbines on the southern hillside at Devon Wood is wind energy developer West Coast Energy, while local farmer Douglas Rennie wants to site the three smaller turbines on the western slopes.

CLPG chairman Greg Brown said, “The gently rolling hillsides and trees no more than 15 metres tall could never hide the turbines but this is what West Coast Energy claims. There are 114 dwellings within two kilometres of the proposed site which would be significantly impacted. A blimp can be set accurately in position and flown at the exact height of the turbines.”

Mr Brown also accused West Coast Energy of denying the true impact the turbines would have on people living close by, on the landscape, on wildlife and on the area’s attractiveness to visitors for peaceful recreation. “Our group has studied the official guidance provided on the siting of wind turbines – the West Coast Energy proposal flouts all of it.”

West Coast Energy challenged the validity of flying a blimp in demonstrating the visibility of the turbines and defended its assessment of their impact.

A spokesman said, “The landscape and visual impact assessment that accompanied West Coast Energy’s planning application was prepared by professional landscape consultants who ensured its compliance with national planning guidelines. None of the guidance recommends flying a blimp to assess visual impacts.

“This assessment has been verified by Scottish Natural Heritage who, in their formal response to the planning application, agreed with the findings and posed no objection to the proposal. While we would be happy for an independent landscape consultant to review the assessment submitted with our planning application, we do not believe the flying of a blimp to be a particularly helpful method in assessing visual effects.

“We encourage anyone who would like to find out more about the proposals, submit any feedback or to join the Devon Wood wind farm community liaison forum to contact 0131 220 0171.”