A West Fife community group has slammed an appeal for a wind farm next to Knockhill Racing Circuit as a “costly exercise for Fife Council and taxpayers”.
In March, councillors knocked back REG Windpower’s application to build five 110-metre (360ft) turbines on a 425-hectare site at Outh Muir, in the Cleish Hills.
Each turbine would have a generating capacity of up to 2.5 megawatts and be operational for 25 years, with the electricity generated going straight to the Grid.
Just over 2.3 hectares would have been developed with, as well as the turbines, an on-site substation, transformers and a temporary construction compound erected. The proposals also included the felling of 80 trees.
Planners had recommended refusal and the application also had run into opposition from Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh Airport and bosses at the race track and had attracted an avalanche of 615 letters of objection.
Concerns included the impact on wildlife, Dunfermline’s historic skyline and Dumglow Cairn and Fort, as well as the operations of air traffic control at Edinburgh Airport.
In addition, opponents said there had been a lack of consultation and that the proposal was contrary to several council policies and development plans.
However, REG Windpower has now appealed to the Scottish Government Reporter, and this week Stop Proliferation of Turbines (SPOT) Fife – a group opposed to inappropriately sited industrial turbines – voiced its fears over the appeal.
Chair Tom Bain said, “Whilst we respect the right of REG Windpower to take this matter to the reporter, we are disappointed that they left it until the last available day in which to lodge their appeal, thereby maximising the distress and uncertainty to local residents who have had this hanging over them for a year and a half, since the original anemometer mast application was received in December 2012.
“Fighting this appeal will be a costly exercise for Fife Council and taxpayers but it is a sign of the money available to wind farm developers from electricity bill payers and the support for such schemes from the Scottish Government that they are willing to take such a risk.
“Fife policies couldn’t be clearer that this is not the right place for this proposal, over 600 local people couldn’t be clearer that they don’t want it and our planning officers and councillors couldn’t be clearer in their rejection of this proposal.
“I just hope this counts for something at a national level, because if this proposal is given the green light, then the whole concept of local democracy is undermined.”
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