Kenly Landscape Protection Group accuses university of trying to ‘pressure’ council on windfarm plan
Campaigners fighting St Andrews University’s windfarm plans say they are ”puzzled and concerned” the university has not lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government – despite announcing two weeks ago it was doing so.
The university – which believes it will have a better chance of a fair hearing by going to the Scottish Government – wants to generate its own energy through windpower by building six 330ft turbines at Kenly Farm near Boarhills.
However, in a report to Wednesday’s Fife Council North East Fife Area Committee, the application is being recommended for refusal by Fife Council planners.
Planners say the proposed development would have a detrimental impact on the landscape and a detrimental cumulative impact alongside a separate proposed windfarm by another applicant at Lingo.
Members of the Kenly Landscape Protection Group (KLPG) welcomed Fife Council’s recommendation but they questioned the tactics of the university, after it emerged the Scottish Government’s Department of Planning and Environment Appeals said it did not yet have a record of a university appeal being lodged.
A KLPG spokesman said: ”This may be a tactic to put pressure on Fife Council to ensure the proposal was brought forward to committee this month with a recommendation of approval.
”However, the officer’s recommendation on very strong grounds is for refusal and it would be perverse if councillors went against the recommendation in this instance.
”The application should be refused. This raises the prospect the university may still lodge an appeal before Wednesday.
”In that case, the committee would not determine the application but will be asked for a view to be given to the Scottish minister, which should be a deemed refusal in line with the recommendation.”
KLPG described the Fife Council planner’s report as a ”careful and thorough assessment of the impacts of the proposal against national and local policy”.
”It sets a benchmark for assessing future windfarm applications in Fife,” the group added.
KLPG has issued a final plea to councillors to refuse the university’s windfarm for the sake of the St Andrews community. It came as members of the North East Fife Area Committee were due to make a site visit.
The KLPG spokesman added: ”We are afraid that if the university windfarm is permitted, it will open the floodgates. Already there are 23 more applications for wind turbines in the East Neuk.
”Because of the height of the turbines (up to 323 feet /100m) and because they stand on elevated ground, they will dominate the skyline for miles around.
”Add in the hundreds of turbines planned for offshore and St Andrews will no longer be the home of golf but the home of turbines. How will that affect tourism which is the area’s lifeblood?
”While we estimate the university stands to make £96 million from the windfarm during its 25-year lifetime, what’s in it for Fifers? We get an industrialised landscape which fewer people will want to visit or live in.
”It would be a very brave politician indeed who votes in favour of this development.”
A spokeswoman for St Andrews University said: ”In terms of our appeal, nothing has changed. We are appealing on the grounds previously indicated and notified to Fife Council.”
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