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Newburgh Community Trust to appeal windfarm refusal

A bid to build the first community-owned turbines in the east of Scotland has been given a second wind.

Those behind the Newburgh Wind Farm have announced they are taking the plans blown out by Fife Council to the Scottish Government.

There was intense disappointment among supporters of the pioneering scheme – and great cheer among opponents – when it was blocked by the council’s north-east Fife area committee two months ago.

But Newburgh Community Trust has confirmed it will appeal the rejection of planning permission for three 100-metre turbines at Braeside of Lindores Farm in the Ochil Hills near Newburgh.

Chairman Andrew Arbuckle – who chaired the area committee until he retired as a councillor this year – revealed that, given the amount spent on the project, the decision was taken back in November to appeal if necessary.

Significant public money has been invested in the scheme, including £250,000 from the Scottish Government’s climate challenge fund.

Mr Arbuckle said: ”It is only right and proper to prepare and lodge an appeal, with the local planning committee failing to see the merits of the application and the strength of support from the people in our neighbourhood.

”Many people in and around Newburgh cannot understand why the application was rejected by the council. It meets the Scottish Government aims of creating more renewable energy, it accords with the stated views of the leader of Fife Council in promoting community-owned wind projects and, most importantly, it has the support of the majority of people in the area.

”The comprehensive report to the committee also showed that it met all the demanding specifications now required of wind turbines. It had no official objections, although Scottish Natural Heritage did give its view that it would affect the skyline.”

While there was significant support for the turbines on the south bank of the Tay Estuary, there was also substantial opposition and the conflicting views had descended into a bitter argument.

The committee cast out the planning application on the grounds of scale, visual impact and the potential for driver distraction.