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Lives could be in danger from turbines, say pilots  

Credit:  Cheryl Peebles | The Courier | 11 August 2012 ~~

Pilots of aircraft using a Fife airstrip could see their lives put in danger by planned wind turbines near Anstruther, a pilot has warned.

Someone could be killed as one of the three 220ft-high turbines a group of farmers is proposing at Bonerbo, Drumrack and Balmouth farms could create turbulence for planes approaching or departing the private strip at Kingsmuir.

Both local pilot Mike Scott-Hayward and a campaign group have voiced concerns.

The plans have been submitted for consent from both Fife Council and the Scottish Government.

The submission to the Scottish Government is an appeal on the grounds of failure by the council to determine an earlier, identical planning application.

Save Carnbee and Arncroach Landscape and Environment Group has now warned that lives could be lost.

Its consultant James Lochhead said: “The proximity of the turbines to the airstrip could lead to a potentially disastrous conflict between the turbines and the movement of light aircraft using the airstrip at Kingsmuir, particularly in poor visibility.”

He quoted Civil Aviation Authority advice recommending no obstacles greater than 150 metres within 6,500 feet of the runway midpoint and said all the turbines proposed would be within that distance.

In the group’s formal objection, he said: “In simple and quite dramatic terms, the proposed turbines would endanger the lives of pilots and their passengers.

“The danger to the lives of pilots and their passengers is such that the issue must have paramount consideration and merit the refusal of this application.”

Mr Scott-Hayward, formerly a councillor for East Neuk and Landward, said: “The circuit pattern to the south of the strip means all westerly and easterly winds will lead to turbulence across the relevant base leg of the circuit when the aircraft is descending to land.

“It is probable Kingsmuir may become so unpopular that no one will want to use it because of the risk created by the turbines.

“It may be that the airfield becomes economically unviable.”

Mr Scott-Hayward, of Kemback, is a frequent user of the airstrip and has urged the council to consider the potential impact.

He said: “It makes no more sense to blight an airstrip than it would make sense to blight a golf course.

“Both are legitimate recreational facilities and in the case of the airstrip, a resource used by the voluntary Civil Air Patrol, who help police in searching for missing persons and provide surveillance during emergencies.”

No objection has been lodged by the Civil AviationAuthority, the UK’s specialist aviation regulator.

Agent for the farmers, David Queripel, of Montgomery Forgan Associates, said: “We have taken advice from the Civil Aviation Authority.”

He highlighted alternative guidance from the authority supporting the scheme.

He also argued in his submission to the council that the airstrip is not an officially safeguarded aerodrome and will not be adversely impacted upon by the proposal.

A government reporter is due to make a site visit on Tuesday before he determines the appeal

Source:  Cheryl Peebles | The Courier | 11 August 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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