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Campaigners fighting windfarm plans aim to show Fife is not a ‘soft touch’  

Credit:  By Michael Alexander | The Courier | 6 February 2014 | www.thecourier.co.uk ~~

A community group has launched a campaign against what could become Fife’s largest windfarm.

Renewable energy developer Partnerships for Renewables (PfR) has submitted plans for 11 turbines at Blairadam Forest, near Kelty.

In addition to the existing plans for 5x360ft (110m) wind turbines at adjacent Outh Muir by Knockhill, the Blairadam application has been submitted by PfR on behalf of the Forestry Commission Scotland.

The Stop Proliferation Of Turbines (SPOT) Fife chairman Andrew Turner said: “The site at Blairadam straddles the boundary between Fife and Perth and Kinross yet the developer has only planned turbines on the Fife side.

“We believe this is because developers see Fife as a soft touch since turbines have been approved here in the past that would have been refused by other councils.

“Only two weeks ago Perth and Kinross Council refused a planning application for two much smaller, 35m turbines in the Cleish Hills, very near this application at Blairadam Forest, because of the unacceptable impact on the landscape.

“Recent Fife Council guidance on where wind turbines can be sited clearly states that this area should remain free of turbines of any number or any size and we hope this new guidance will ensure the plans are refused.

“The reason developers keep submitting applications for unsuitable areas is because they make vast profits at the expense of all of us because we subsidise wind energy through our energy bills.

“PfR stand to make £66 million over 20 years from this windfarm and expect it to pay for itself in just three years. The more wind turbines that are built, the higher our energy bills will be to pay for these obscene levels of subsidy.

“We just have to look around at some of the Carbuncle Award-winning, planning-approved monstrosities that we have to live with in Fife to know that it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen corporations ride rough-shod over the plans put in place by our elected representatives, to the detriment of our communities. And it appears that we should brace ourselves to have it done to us again – twice.”

John and Catherine Wilson oppose the plan. John said: “We frequently walk and cycle in Blairadam, it’s dreadful to think this wonderful area could be industrialised.

“Blairadam is important to so many people; we come here to relax and enjoy the countryside, not to see and hear giant machines.”

Linda Holt, spokesperson for Scotland Against Spin (SAS), a Fife-based national alliance campaigning against unsustainable energy policy, said: “The applicant is happy to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a speculative application which flies in the face of Fife Council’s carefully considered planning advice.

“This shows how weak our local planning system is when it comes to the wind industry. All big wind developers budget for the almost inevitable appeal to the Scottish Government, which has a track record of overruling local planning democracy in favour of its political target of unlimited onshore wind development.”

Alan Mathewson, PfR regional manager, said: “We have spent considerable time looking at the forest and have identified a specific area for development on the west side of Blairadam.

“This 11-turbine proposal will have the capacity to generate over 55GWh of green electricity per annum – enough to power almost 13,000 homes.”

Source:  By Michael Alexander | The Courier | 6 February 2014 | www.thecourier.co.uk

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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