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Planners advise Fife Council to oppose South Cassingry Farm wind turbines

Fife Council planners intend to oppose the installation of a wind farm near Largoward when it is considered by the Scottish Government.

They have asked north-east Fife councillors to back their recommendation to refuse planning permission for two 100m-high turbines at South Cassingry Farm.

Gordon Pay, the man behind Largoward Windmills, has taken his proposals to the government’s directorate for planning and environmental appeals (DPEA) as the local authority has missed the deadline for determining them.

The Ministry of Defence has warned the turbines would be in direct line-of-sight of air traffic control radar at RAF Leuchars, which could interfere with the detection of aircraft.

Both Scottish Natural Heritage and Largoward and District Community Council are against the development, and their objections are among 56 made to the planning application.

In their report for the north-east Fife area committee meeting on Wednesday, planners Jenny Racionzer and Samantha Stone conclude, “There is insufficient evidence submitted in relation to the visual, landscape and natural heritage impacts of the development to demonstrate that significant adverse impacts will not arise.

“In these circumstances … the precautionary principle must be applied.”

They say the turbines, to be constructed within 2km of Largoward, would be prominent features of the open landscape visible from most vantage points, including the A915 between Peat Inn and Largo, the B940 between Cupar and Crail and the B941 between Peat Inn and Kilconquhar.

It had not been disproved, they stated, that the wind farm would irreversibly damage protected species found in the area, including pink-footed and greylag geese, peregrine falcons and bats.

Questions were also raised over the potential for noise and shadow flicker at neighbouring houses.

Mr Pay claimed the report is misleading and also criticised the timing, saying it could have been presented six months ago.

He said, “This begs the question why Fife Council has delayed and continues to try to add delay to this application. If this was not bad enough, the report intended to inform the decision of councillors is seriously misleading.

“Fife Council has been informed of this opinion. Scottish planning policy asks that decision making be speedy, transparent and demonstrably fair. Fife Council seems to have failed on all counts.

“Whatever the decision that is eventually made by the DPEA – and any decision at the committee has little relevance to this – the attitude of Fife Council has to be seriously questioned.

“Fife Council does not have a coherent, sensible policy on wind turbines. At the moment it is thoughtlessly pushing the development of wind energy to the poorer alternatives of small local developments, using old less efficient technology and outside commercial developers exporting money from the community.”

Scottish ministers will be advised of the committee’s view as the appeal is determined by a reporter.