Plans to create Fife’s biggest wind farm to date at Blairadam Forest have been slammed by a West Fife community group.
Partnership for Renewables wants to build 14 130-metre (426 feet) turbines at the Forestry Commission site but Dunduff-based Stop Proliferation of Turbines (Spot) Fife says the proposals are “unsuitable”, “detrimental” and “harmful”.
The turbines would be almost as tall as the London Eye, have an estimated total capacity of 35MW and generate enough electricity to power 19,987 homes a year.
However, Spot Fife claims the application has far-ranging effects, with the turbines visible from “virtually everywhere within a 15km radius”, from Dunfermline to Kinross.
The group’s Andrew Turner said, “The turbines are to be sited in an area enjoyed by the thousands of people who use it for recreation.
“Part of the site is on a peat bog which when disturbed during construction releases CO2 into the atmosphere.
“Reducing CO2 emissions is supposedly the reason for building wind farms, although significant research shows that CO2 emissions are not reduced by wind farms and can in fact be increased.
“The highly populated rural areas around the site and villages and towns will all have significant views of these turbines.
“The area was deemed unsuitable for wind farms for a reason, the site is highly visible and valuable for its scenery and landscape character.
“Many protected birds and rare species are present on the site, including pink-footed geese who feed nearby and roost at Loch Glow.
“The turbines will be detrimental to the population of these birds, including those who fly over the site to nearby Loch Leven which is a Special Protected Area and RAMSAR site, an internationally important wetland site deemed the most important of our areas to protect from such harmful developments.”
Mr Turner also warned of “potentially significant health issues” for residents living nearby.
He explained, “There is no legislation to protect people from low frequency noise (infrasound) which many people find more of a problem than the constant thump, thump, thump which you can hear.
“Many people living near wind farms report problems associated with infrasound including insomnia, dizziness, stress, headaches and psychological impairment, more frequent in children.
“The World Health Organisation recognizes annoyance and sleep disturbance as adverse health effect, unfortunately the Scottish Government don’t.”
Spot Fife hopes to raise “hundreds of objections” against the plans, although public comments are not currently being accepted.
Mr Turner feared Fife was seen as a “soft touch” by wind developers due to its mining heritage; a Scottish Wildlife Trust survey showed 138 applications over a two-year period ending February 2012, compared to 58 in Perth and Kinross, 40 in East Lothian, and 29 in Stirling.
He said, “That’s more in Fife than the other three put together.
“We have to ask why it is that developers are targeting Fife.
“The site at Blairadam has been excluded from Fife Council’s area of search for wind turbines due to the high quality and high visibility of the landscape.
“Fife Council’s own guidance makes it clear that our landscape is a small landscape, heavily populated and not suited to large wind farms.
“Their guidance actually says that nowhere in Fife is suited to a turbine over 100m.”
Spot Fife is also one of 11 Fife groups that have accused the council of a “culture of denial” over wind turbines proposed for the Kingdom.
The groups, which include the West Fife Community Council Forum, have written a joint letter to the council’s chief executive complaining that the planning department is “failing local communities and individual residents threatened by turbine applications”.
The groups claim planners “ignore” national and local policies in their reports and “uncritically” accept developers’ statements, especially about the visual impact of turbines.
The letter lists five specific problems and highlighted the “culture of denial of adverse visual impact even when local communities object in considerable numbers with this as a primary reason”.
It added that planners needed to “act urgently and decisively to address the concerns” raised.
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