Methil residents could be “sacrificed as guinea pigs” in plans for a massive wind turbine, it has been claimed.
Proposals to build Scotland’s tallest turbine on the edge of Methil have been slammed by new anti-windfarm alliance Scotland Against Spin.
The campaigners claim the plans are failing to protect hundreds of nearby residents from potentially significant noise nuisance and have accused the licensing authority, Marine Scotland, of “negligence” over the issue.
At almost 196 metres high, the three-bladed 7MW test turbine is part of Korean industrial giant Samsung Heavy Industries’ demonstration project at Fife Energy Park. But Scotland Against Spin said it would tower over Methil and Levenmouth’s coastal towns.
They argued that although nominally offshore, it was located only 30 metres from high water beside the Energy Park and near to hundreds of homes.
Approval for the application, the group claimed, is expected to be rubber stamped by the Scottish Government within a matter of weeks.
Fife anti-windfarm campaigner and co-founder of Scotland Against Spin Graham Lang said he has had grave concerns about the potential human impact of the turbine since it was first announced by First Minister Alex Salmond a year ago.
“While I understand demo turbines have to be tested, doing so only 30 metres offshore from a highly-populated area raises huge visual and residential amenity questions,” Mr Lang said.
He said local residents have been living with an onshore turbine by the Hydrogen Centre at the Energy Park that is less than half the height of the Samsung one.
The Samsung proposal replaces an earlier consent for a 179-metre, two-bladed offshore test turbine by 2B Energy on the same site.
Mr Lang said he had been trying to ensure locals were protected from noise for a while.
“I have engaged with Marine Scotland over quite a long time to try and ensure that residents and workforces are protected from noise nuisance by incorporating an enforceable planning condition on noise in any consent.
“The initial consent for an earlier application by 2B Energy did not have a noise condition. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show that in the advice given to ministers consenting the application noise was not referred to as an environmental impact.”
Mr Lang called the proposal “a recipe for disaster”.
He said experience with turbines across the UK had shown that even when robust noise conditions were attached to consents requiring turbines to be switched off when noise levels exceeded a statutory maximum, they were “notoriously difficult, if not downright impossible, to enforce.
“Families unfortunate enough to live beside noisy turbines end up at their wits’ end. Unable to sleep and afflicted by a range of health impacts from the noise, they are then driven to despair when they find the authorities can do nothing to help them,” he added
“We’ve had plenty of spin about this project from Samsung, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government but it can’t be right to give no thought at all to the health and quality of life of hundreds of local people in what is already, historically, one of the most deprived communities in Scotland.
“This is a giant experiment and without an enforceable noise condition, Methil residents are being sacrificed as guinea pigs,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Marine Scotland said the application is under consideration by Marine Scotland and the decision would be made in due course, taking into account all the facts of the application.
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