Concerns have been raised that windfarms may be constructed in Fife “by the back door”.
Cupar councillor Karen Marjoram said the addition of single turbines to already established sites raised questions over council rules on cumulative impact. She was speaking at a meeting of Fife Council’s north east planning committee, where plans to construct a fourth turbine at land at Bonerbo Farm, Dunino, were rejected.
Councillors had been advised to approve the proposals, subject to conditions. However, as part of the discussion over the plans, concerns were raised at the possibility of multiple planning applications being used in certain circumstances to establish small-scale windfarms.
Concerned about Fife Council’s ability to tackle such a situation, Councillor Marjoram said: “This is adding one turbine to an existing three and I have concerns, in that we are looking at windfarms by the backdoor.
“How do we measure that when adding another down the road? If they keep going in, one by one, there is a cumulative impact. How do we measure that?”
Although council officials had recommended approval of the fourth turbine, some 25 letters of objection to the plans had been lodged.
East Neuk councillor John Docherty declared “enough was enough” concerning turbine development in the area, while Alastair Hamilton, Fife Council service manager, insisted that “methodologies” are in place and each application deserves to be considered on its own merits. “Maybe the committee do not agree, but the assessment has been done,” he added. “There are methodologies and these have been applied.
“This is for one turbine and that application is recommended for approval.”
Councillors ultimately refused the plans by eight votes to two.
Scale (Save Carnbee and Arncroach Landscape and Environment) – a group of local residents and visitors to the area in and around Arncroach, in the East Neuk – had objected to the fourth turbine at Bonerbo.
Lucy Smith, a spokeswoman for the group, welcomed the rejection of the fourth turbine but expressed fears over further development in the East Neuk.
She said: “We are hugely relieved that members listened to the concern of residents and visitors about the growing number of industrial turbines blighting the East Neuk.
“Applicants always argue that one more turbine won’t make much difference, but we have to draw the line somewhere. The fourth Bonerbo turbine would have created a windfarm by the back door.
“Local communities have made it crystal clear that the East Neuk is not the right place for a commercial windfarm.
“The B940 is rapidly turning into turbine alley. The Bonerbo turbine would have added another to the 11 turbines already visible between Higham Toll and Crail, with a further 14 consented but not erected, and four more in planning.
“The total number of consented turbines affecting north east Fife is now over 100.”
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