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Council planners warn Methil turbine would be seen by Open crowds  

Credit:  By Claire Warrender | The Courier | www.thecourier.co.uk 8 October 2012 ~~

A massive 582ft wind turbine off the Fife coastline could affect next year’s Open golf championship at Muirfield, it has been claimed.

The demonstration turbine, which would be erected 65ft off the coast at Methil, could also affect more than 60 Fife households if noise levels are higher than expected.

Keith Winter, head of planning with Fife Council, said there were worries the turbine could have a ”significant negative effect” on residents and the landscape.

However, he broadly welcomed the plans, saying they would generate positive economic development for Fife.

East Lothian planner Jean Squires said potential impacts had not been addressed, such as the possible effects on users of beaches and golf courses, including Muirfield golf course, due to host the Open Championship next year.

The two-blade turbine – the only one of its type in the UK and possibly Europe – would trial offshore technology and be connected to the shore via a footbridge.

Dutch firm 2B Energy intends to operate it 24 hours a day for five years, at which point it will be dismantled and transported to an offshore location.

Because of its size, the final decision on giving it permission rests with Holyrood.

Mr Winter said Fife Council supported the general principle of the proposal and the inherent benefits it was likely to generate for Fife and Levenmouth, in particular. However, he had concerns over noise levels and shadow flicker.

”Fife Council would seek specific assurances from the Scottish Government that should the development proceed there will be no significant detrimental impact to local residents,” he said.

”Fife Council supports the development of appropriate renewable energy technologies generally. Development which supports this ambition is welcomed. It is considered this development will, in many ways, contribute to meeting these objectives.”

Mr Winter has also asked the Scottish Government to encourage the developer to work with people in Methil, Buckhaven, Methilhill and Leven to look at options for community benefits.

Ms Squires said that while not formally objecting to the proposal, she did not agree the impact on East Lothian’s viewpoints would be negligible.

”The turbine will break the skyline for a considerable part of its height and this effect will be more noticeable from the beach, which is lower,” she stated.

”The effect is likely to be replicated on many of the north-facing beaches of East Lothian.

”As views from East Lothian are from the south … the sun will shine on the turbine which will help pick it out.

”It could therefore potentially become a new focal point in views over the Forth towards the Lomonds, which could change the experience of this view.”

Source:  By Claire Warrender | The Courier | www.thecourier.co.uk 8 October 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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