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Clatto Hill windfarm plans struggle to find support among councillors  

Credit:  By Craig Smith, www.thecourier.co.uk 24 February 2012 ~~

Just one north-east Fife councillor has backed controversial wind turbine proposals at Clatto Hill.

Two separate proposals for a total of eight turbines were discussed by north-east Fife area committee, which met at Cupar’s Elmwood College on Wednesday.

Councillors were asked to comment on West Coast Energy’s plans for five turbines at Devon Wood and a proposal by Green Cat Renewables for three turbines on an adjacent site at Clatto Farm.

Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett was the only councillor who raised his hand in support of the proposals, with the majority of the committee opposing on the grounds of landscape, cumulative impact of both developments, residential amenity and tourism.

In addition, some councillors also raised concerns about road safety, claiming the moving turbine blades would distract motorists.

The plans were considered separately but similar concerns were raised in relation to both.

In support of his position on the matter, Mr Brett referred to the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets.

”We have a policy in this country to support renewable energy and we have a policy in Fife to support renewable energy,” he said.

”There is an over-riding need for us to have more renewable energy. But I can fully understand why people are against it and why this is a very tricky decision.”

In contrast, Mike Scott-Hayward said the turbines would ”desecrate the landscape”.

And he said more use should be made of offshore windfarms to deliver national targets.

He said: ”Is it worth destroying the local landscape to meet a target that would be better met elsewhere? This is not necessary for the local community and does not enhance the local community – it actually desecrates the landscape and will destroy amenity for some of our people.”

Ron Caird said the turbines would be like skyscrapers and would ”despoil an area of great landscape value”.

Mr Caird said the visual impact of the turbines would be to the detriment of the area as a draw for tourists – a view echoed by St Andrews councillor Dorothea Morrison.

Mrs Morrison added: ”North-east Fife lives by its looks.”

A previous application for a windfarm at the site, lodged by ScottishPower, was fought by local campaigners and eventually dropped by the firm.

Provost Frances Melville said such planning applications had been causing anxiety for residents for years.

”There has been worry and anxiety for many people since 2003 and 2004. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that this will not go away,” she said.

The proposals are now set to be discussed by Levenmouth councillors before the planning committee makes a final decision next month.

Planning and development director for West Coast Energy Steve Salt said: ”Despite the positive recommendation to approve from council officers … the committee chose to focus instead on issues that are not relevant to the merits of our application, but rather to the merits of wind energy more generally.”

Source:  By Craig Smith, www.thecourier.co.uk 24 February 2012

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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