A Fife falconry could be forced to close if plans for three wind turbines on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy take flight.
Robin Manson, who works at Elite Falconry, which has been based at Cluny since 1998, said the business would not survive if the plan goes ahead, as the area would no longer be safe for the facility’s 37 birds to take to the skies.
The proposals for three 300ft wind turbines at Begg Farm, on an area of land parallel to the A92, have yet to be submitted to Fife Council but were brought to the attention of Mr Manson and Elite Falconry owners Roxanne Peggie and Barry Blyther by concerned community council members.
Mr Manson said, “We feel quite let down because the company behind the proposal, I and H Brown Ltd, have not given us any information about it or made contact with us about these plans yet they are planning on doing something pretty much on our doorstep that they must realise will be at the detriment of our business.
“Here at our centre we train hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures and owls to fly and behave in a trained and controlled state while retaining their natural instincts and behaviour, however they will simply not be able to fly if there are wind turbines nearby – it would be too dangerous for them because when a bird flies into a turbine, it is sure to either die instantly or suffer a slow, agonising death.
“We take great pride in our work at the centre and when you have birds worth potentially around £6000 it’s simply not an option for them to fly near such a dangerous hazard.”
Mr Manson said although the safety of the birds is his main concern, he also thinks the turbines would be a blight on the town’s landscape.
He said, “I’ve seen a computer-generated image of what they are expected to look like and they completely dominate the skyline of Kirkcaldy and basically just look like an eyesore.
“I am actually a qualified architect and did some investigations into wind turbines as part of my studies and I know that to put three on the site in question would be of no benefit to the community, only the landowner.
‘Hard to recycle’
“I’ve done a lot of research on the issue and when wind turbines first came out 10-15 years ago in places like Germany they were very popular, however now the same people who put them up are taking them down as it has come to light that, ironically, they could be bad for the environment long-term due to the material they are made of being very hard to recycle.”
“Also they only last for around 20 years and are very expensive to manufacture so it takes a long time before any profit is made on each one, which, it could be argued, almost defeats the purpose.
“The bottom line is Elite Falconry has been here for 13 years and we have built up a good reputation in the area but if these turbines go up, we will be forced to close.”
As well as visiting schools and putting on displays, the centre has the responsibility of trying to breed golden eagles by mating its two resident birds – among only a handful in the UK able to breed naturally.
There are also other birds in breeding programmes, with the latest egg hatching being that of a tiny baby falcon, and eight great grey owl eggs due to hatch in a month.
A spokesman for I and H Brown Ltd said they welcomed public feedback regarding their plans and that ornithology would be one of a range of subjects covered and taken into account in their environmental impact assessment.
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