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More Fife wind turbines approved despite concerns for the future

There are new calls to give greater weight to the cumulative impact of wind turbines on the Fife countryside after two more controversial applications won approval.

The north-east Fife area committee has given the green light to a 45.7m turbine on land at Lordscairnie, and proposals for two 34.6m turbines at Higham Farm, Radernie.

Although plans for a 45m turbine at Barnsmuir Farm, near Anstruther, were rejected at Wednesday’s meeting, councillors opposed to the Lordscairnie and Radernie turbines believe the devices will have a negative impact on people’s way of life.

Pointing out that other applications are pending near the Lordscairnie site, including a 41m turbine at Newington Farm a kilometre away which was approved on appeal, Councillor David MacDiarmid said councillors have been put in a ”strange position” when it comes to turbine applications.

He said: ”It’s different from looking at a house in the countryside because we have to be looking to the future and what could be coming next.”

Planner Mary Stewart said each application must be taken on its own merit and be treated ”no different to a residential development”, although Mr MacDiarmid said: ”In fairness, the houses in the countryside are not going to be between 100 and 400 feet high.”

Planning guidance also states that turbines should not be placed within two kilometres of ‘settlements’, although in this instance Newington Cottages is within that distance.

With that in mind, Councillor Mike Scott-Hayward, who seconded Councillor Ron Caird’s motion calling for refusal of the application, said: ”The government throws the dice the way it throws the dice but we can’t go on forever ignoring this. I don’t place any less value on people living in Newington Cottages than I do in an urban area.”

Despite the concerns, councillors voted seven to six in favour of Lordscairnie.

In relation to the Radernie proposal, Mr Scott-Hayward moved refusal on the basis that it would affect the landscape and visual amenity of people in Largoward and Lathones – seconded by Mr Caird.

Nevertheless, it was approved by seven votes to four.

Two further applications were due to be considered but will now be heard after the elections in May.

Officials want more time to consider a noise assessment relating to a 45m device at Kirkmay Farm near Crail, while a 34.2m turbine at North Cassingray Farm in Largoward was put off for further work to be done on an objection submitted by Scottish Natural Heritage.