Challenge to St Andrews University windfarm plans
Credit: Grant Smith | The Courier | 8 October 2013 | /www.thecourier.co.uk ~~
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A legal appeal could be mounted against plans to build six wind turbines near St Andrews, it has emerged.
Opponents of the Kenly Farm scheme believe a recent ruling by the Court of Session may give them a chance to halt the development by St Andrews University, which has been approved on appeal.
In a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s approval of a windfarm on Shetland, Lady Clark of Calton said almost all turbines required an electricity generating licence from the regulator Ofgem before receiving planning consent.
Ministers have said they will appeal her ruling. But John Goodwin, chairman of Kenly Landscape Protection Group, said they were looking into the possibility of seeking a judicial review.
He revealed that the group had urged the Scottish Government’s Planning Inquiry Reporters Unit to take the licence issue into account before it approved the 12.3 megawatt turbines.
“The university has no such licence. We wrote to the chief reporter last week to warn her that any consent would be unsafe on these grounds,” Mr Goodwin said.
He added that planning inquiry reporter Alasdair Edwards had attached 40 conditions to the consent for Kenly Farm, whose 328-foot turbines would power the university’s North Haugh buildings.
“One might expect the reporter to refuse a development which required so many conditions, or a developer to abandon a site that is so problematic and potentially expensive,” Mr Goodwin said.
Deborah Pender, who lives near Kenly Farm, said the decision showed “total disregard and discrimination” of residents of the 97 homes within 2km of the site.
Janice Furness, secretary of Boarhills and Dunino Community Council, said members were “very disappointed”, but would seek a meeting with the university to discuss the timetable for the development and its community benefit, which could be £1.2 million over 25 years.
A university spokesperson said: “Kenly will reduce our carbon emissions by 19,000 tonnes per annum, helping us to achieve our goal of becoming carbon neutral for energy by 2016. The wind farm will generate an inward investment of more than £20m and a community benefit of £1.2m over the life of the project. It will provide local construction and maintenance jobs.
“The university is also developing a low-carbon energy centre at Guardbridge that will provide heat from locally sourced and sustainable biomass, solar thermal and ground sources for the North Haugh buildings and save 12,000 tonnes of carbon. These two projects are visionary and proof that we understand our responsibilities with respect to climate change and the sustainable supply and management of energy costs.
“There have been no statutory consultee objections to Kenly. It is our contention that based on the results of our environmental impact assessment, Kenly complies with the development plan and is aligned with UK and Scottish Government policy.”
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