May 23, 2012

Farmer fails in appeal against Fife windfarm refusal 23 May 2012

An appeal against a decision to turn down plans for three wind turbines in rural north east Fife has been rejected by Scottish ministers.

Fife councillors had previously thrown out farmer Andrew Simpson’s proposals for the trio of 27m-high turbines at Balmeadowside Farm near Luthrie at the turn of the year, although that decision was subsequently challenged by the applicant.

Now though, those plans look further away than ever after it emerged that David Buylla, a reporter appointed by the Scottish ministers, has dismissed Mr Simpson’s appeal and formally refused the application.

The proposal would have involved the installation of three 20KW turbines close to the top of a prominent hill, with access via an existing track that served a telecommunications tower which occupied the site until about 10 years ago.

Mr Simpson had argued the plans would have made a worthwhile contribution towards energy targets but the appeal’s rejection appears to have put paid to that.

”I agree with the appellant that the benefits of the proposal are a significant material consideration but I am not satisfied that these outweigh the areas of concern that I have identified, which arise from the particular sensitivity of the appeal site’s location and, in some respects, the very limited level of supporting information that accompanied the proposal,” Mr Buylla concluded.

Noting the development would be seen from the A92 and A913, the reporter said he was satisfied there would not be a significant visual impact from that particular viewpoint.

He also suggested the turbines would not significantly detract from the qualities of a number of locations in the area, such as Norman’s Law, Carphin House and even the Fife Coastal Path.

However, the impact on a nearby walking route, namely Core Path 212, was deemed to be unacceptable.

”The route is very pleasant and tranquil, being hidden from the main road network by surrounding hills,” he said.

”Unlike in the view from Norman’s Law, views are of the valley itself, as longer distance views are blocked by the flanking hills.

”The proposal’s prominent siting, man-made appearance and rotating blades would, in my view, detract from the enjoyment of users of this important recreational route.”

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