Little Raith wind farm under investigation
Credit: Central Fife Times | 15 Aug 2014 | www.centralfifetimes.com ~~
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The Little Raith windfarm near Lochgelly is under investigation by the Scottish Government amid residents’ health concerns over the effects of the turbines.
It is one of 10 sites that are being examined following a government-commissioned survey which is due to be published this autumn.
The windfarm, operated by Kennedy Renewables, is currently at the centre of a controversial proposal to extend the site from the existing nine sky-scraping turbines by adding another six.
James Glen, secretary of Lochgelly community council, believes that the results of the survey, especially the nuisance caused by shadow flicker, must be given careful consideration.
“The proposed extension can be delayed so that the results of this survey can be included,” he said. “It is important that residents are consulted. The negative impacts need to be addressed.”
Despite a previous research project finding no evidence between wind turbines and adverse health effects, Mr Glen insisted the research in the new survey was not a completely separate issue.
He said, “It’s still connected to the development and these issues, such as shadow flicker, face residents on a daily basis.
“The study should be considered to highlight the negative impacts that residents are currently facing.”
Shadow flicker, caused when the turbine blades cast intermittent shadows through openings such as windows, is said not to cause significant health problems but has been claimed to bring on stress and headaches.
Its effect on residents is one of the issues which the survey is investigating.
Funded by the Scottish Government, the survey is being managed by research group ClimateXChange and is investigating how local residents experience and react to visual, noise and shadow-flicker impacts.
It’s understood the 10 wind farms may have been chosen because of the number of complaints they have attracted.
The survey comprises of 30 questions which examine issues such as whether residents have lodged a complaint, how they feel about the light and shadow effects and whether they have made any changes in the use of their residence because of the wind farm.
However the company behind the Little Raith wind farm is not concerned about being part of the investigation.
Jonny Kennedy, managing director of Kennedy Renewables, said, “We welcome Little Raith wind farm being part of the ClimateXChange study, which was first announced last year and is examining 10 wind farms across Scotland as part of the study.
“This is a study to compare operational wind farms to what was set out in the environmental impact documentation that was submitted as part of the original planning process.
“Kennedy Renewables recognises the importance of the study to the wider renewables sector across Scotland and we are happy to assist. We feel confident in the original planning assessment for Little Raith wind farm and look forward to receiving the results.
“As Fife’s first commercial wind farm, we have been proud of the work we have undertaken and we continue to engage with the local communities surrounding the Little Raith wind farm through our Community Liaison Forum.
“We are sure that the communities of Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, Lumphinnans and Auchtertool will fully engage in the study.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said, “The Scottish Government has commissioned ClimateXChange to look at whether the visual, shadow flicker and noise impacts predicted by wind farm developers in their planning applications are consistent with the impacts experienced once the wind farm is operating, to help inform planning guidance.
“The study will report its findings in the autumn.
“This study is separate to a previous research project carried out by ClimateXChange which reviewed international research on the health effects on wind turbines and found no evidence of a link between the operation of wind turbines and adverse health effects.”
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