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Fears windfarms would spoil tourists’ experience of St Andrews

Tourists’ experience of St Andrews would be altered by the creation of three major windfarms both on and offshore, according to Scotland’s nature conservation agency.

Scottish Natural Heritage claimed that if given the go-ahead the Neart Na Gaoithe turbines in the Firth of Forth and two windfarms just over three miles south-east of St Andrews would become characteristic features from in and around the historic town.

Around one million visitors flock to the home of golf each year and as well as seeing the famous Old Course, the town’s cathedral and its stunning coastline, their eyes may soon be drawn to some of 125 turbines which may be built nine-and-a-half miles off the coast of nearby Fife Ness.

Additionally, they would be able to see some of 11 turbines 330 feet tall which St Andrews University wants to erect at Kenly Farm and West Coast Energy at Lingo Farm.

Responding to an appeal by the university to the Scottish Government for planning permission, Scottish Natural Heritage expressed concerns about the cumulative impact of the three developments.

Forth unit manager Iain Rennick said: “Should all three schemes be developed, then turbines would become a characteristic feature of these views and change the overall experience of the town for both residents and visitors.

“This would result in a high adverse cumulative impact on the landscaping setting of St Andrews as well as on the views and visual amenity of sensitive locations such as (St Andrews Links) and the popular West Sands area,” he said.

The Kenly wind farm, he said, would be seen from some of the same vantage points as the offshore turbines in the town and across eastern Fife and provide a visual link between the town and the structures at sea.

The university lodged its appeal after its planning application was rejected by Fife Council in September, last year.

West Coast Energy has also lodged an appeal as the local authority failed to determine its bid within the required timescale.