A West Fife community group has slammed the decision to approve six wind turbines near Steelend, saying it leaves residents “completely surrounded” by wind farms.
Andrew Turner, chair of SPOT Fife (Stop Proliferation of Turbines), which campaigns against wind turbines in unsuitable locations, claimed approval had been granted based on “unquestioned misinformation” and “a lack of understanding of policies”.
The South West Fife area committee has given the go-ahead to Kenneth Smith, of London-based Vigor Renewables, to put up the 15kW turbines, measuring 24.8 metres tall (81 feet) on a site at Steelend Farm, Sunnybraes Terrace.
It was the second such application for the site after a similar proposal submitted last year was withdrawn.
The plans had received 66 objections and concerns included noise, road safety, the lack of community benefit and visual and ecological impact.
However, a report that went before committee said the proposal was “generally acceptable” and in line with the Fife Development Plan and National Guidance on Renewable Policy.
It added that the development would comply with noise levels, only have a “minimal visual impact on the rural landscape due to its size, isolated position and small scale” and would not harm the residential setting.
But Mr Turner said, “I have spoken to the people living closest to this development, in Upper Steelend, and they are incredibly upset at this decision.
In the past they have chosen not to react to local wind turbine developments but this project was different.
“It is much closer to their homes, it adds a third different design of turbine to the local area and it means that they are now completely surrounded by wind turbines.
“In particular, they were troubled by the planned councillors’ site visit, which consisted of those that attended driving past the site, along a road which is set two fields back from the site.
“This meant they couldn’t see where all of the turbines are planned or meet with the residents at the pre-arranged time and location to understand the problems that they face.
The local residents who attended the area committee were surprised by the lack of understanding of policies relating to cumulative impact demonstrated by both the councillors and the planning officers involved.
“They were also surprised that the proposal was founded on unquestioned misinformation, such as the stated primary reason for the turbines being to reduce the amount of electricity used by the applicant’s working farm.
“The applicant doesn’t operate a working farm at these premises; it’s just a private dwelling.”
Saline and Steelend Community Council did not put in an objection to the turbines.
Vice chair John Hensman said, “Generally we have no objection to small turbines that farmers erect. It’s just the very big ones that can be seen for miles around we have problems with.”