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Campaign group dismisses Clatto Hill turbine report as a ‘whitewash’  

Credit:  By Craig Smith, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 3 August 2011 ~~

A campaign group has reacted angrily to the continuing efforts of a wind farm developer to minimise or even erase the major problems it believes proposals for seven turbines in the Fife countryside present.

West Coast Energy has applied for planning permission to build seven 121-metre turbines on Clatto Hill, and believes some people’s concerns about what impact they would have are misguided.

Despite the production of a new consultants’ report – carried out by Axis on behalf of the firm – which aims to alleviate those fears, the Clatto Landscape Protection Group (CLPG) remains adamant the plans as they stand would badly affect the homes of over 100 people who live within two kilometres of the proposed turbine locations.

CLPG chairman Greg Brown said, “West Coast Energy and their consultants want to dismiss the presence of those local people as unimportant. West Coast Energy have written to the council to argue along those lines.

“It’s easy to see why local people are angry about this. Our message to West Coast Energy is that we are here and here to stay, we love our area and we don’t want it destroyed.”

Mr Brown also feels that the company has continued to deny any potential impact on the landscape.

“They see the addition of the turbines as a minor feature,” he added. “Even Scottish Natural Heritage has said they would make a fundamental change to the landscape character.

“Judged against that organisation’s guidance the turbines are way out of scale – a further cause of resident anger.”

The Axis report, which has been submitted to Fife Council in response to a further objection by the CLPG to the wind farm plans, aims to downplay the significance of the turbines as skyline features and highlights West Coast Energy’s confidence that the visual effects of the proposed development on local properties have been “adequately addressed.”

It adds that it does not consider the skyline of Clatto Hill to be “overly distinctive in the wider context,” pointing to the likes of Largo Law, East and West Lomond and the Ochil Hills as the more distinctive local skyline features.

It also questions the accuracy of mocked-up photos provided by the CLPG in a bid to highlight what the scale of the seven turbines would be.

The report concludes, “We consider that the visualisations provided … demonstrate that there would be no undue impact upon the skyline resulting from the proposed turbines.

“We do not feel that CLPG have raised any other additional issues not covered by our previous response.”

However, in response to West Coast Energy’s latest letter to the council the CLPG has decided to write to the local authority again in a bid to get across what it says are local people’s views.

Mr Brown said, “The underlying problem is that wind farm developers are supposed to carry out an impartial and objective appraisal of likely impacts of their proposals.

“What they have actually produced and submitted to Fife Council amounts to nothing more than a whitewash.”

Source:  By Craig Smith, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 3 August 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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