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360-feet wind turbines planned near West Fife beauty spot

Five wind turbines taller than the Forth Bridge could go up on the edge of Blairadam Forest.

REG Windpower has applied for an environmental impact assessment for the 110-metre (361ft) turbines at Outh Muir, located between the forest and Knockhill racing circuit.

The plans include 20 parking spaces, new site entrance and tracks and control building. The turbines – 30 feet taller than the rail bridge – will have a capacity of 2.5MW each and a lifespan of 25 years.

A design statement submitted with the application said, “It is acknowledged that the development would have some effects on the landscape and visual amenity though these limited impacts are common to wind farms due to the size and scale of turbines in open countryside locations and should not be the sole determining factor.

“The Cleish Hills Local Landscape Area would experience localised effects but the integrity of the designation would generally be maintained.

“The impacts on landscape and visual amenity are limited and not considered unacceptable and thus comply with the aims of Development Plan policy and other material considerations.”

Andrew Turner, of local community group Stop Proliferation of Turbines (Spot) Fife, slammed the application, saying, “The location for this wind farm is one of a handful of the most protected areas in Fife and, according to Fife Council policy, is completely unsuited to wind turbine developments of any type, let alone one of this scale.

“Whilst I recognise that every application has to be reviewed on its merits, I am very concerned about why a company would invest many tens of thousands of pounds in undertaking a scoping exercise which has resulted in the submission of a planning application well over 1000 pages long, if they did not expect to receive a significant return on that investment and feel they have a strong chance of success?

“Such a submission shows a distressing disregard for the views of local residents and Fife Council policies.

“Fife Council issued new guidance on wind energy last month which clearly deems the site at Outh Muir as having no capacity for wind turbines.

“The guidance states the area should not be developed and should be afforded significant protection from wind turbines.”

Mr Turner also criticised the community benefit plans offered, saying, “The developers are offering a community benefit of £62,500 per year but due to the prominent location of the wind turbines and their visibility over 30 miles, there will be a very large number of organisations that will claim to have been affected by them.

“For example, community councils at Kelty, Carnock, Saline and Steelend, Townhill, Cleish and Blairadam, Kinross and Kingseat will all feel that they should be sharing in this money, which if shared equally would equate to £3.80 per resident, and much less if community councils in Dunfermline, whom the policies are particularly in place to protect, feel they should be included in the share-out.”