Developers in charge of the proposed extension to the wind farm at Little Raith have gone to the Scottish Government in a bid to get their plans pushed through.
Kennedy Renewables, in partnership with Wemyss Estate as the WK Extension Project, has been fighting for months to erect six more wind turbines on the site south of the A92, near Lochgelly.
The extension to the site, which already has nine turbines in place, has led to concerns and objections from neighbouring communities and environmental action groups, who have been rallying against the application since it was first put forward in July last year.
After almost six months of waiting for a decision from Fife Council, a period which exceeded the statutory time limit, the developers are now going above the council’s head to Scottish Government ministers for a decision.
In the appeal, which was received by the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) last Monday, Kennedy Renewables claimed that Fife Council should have made its decision by 18th November but had still failed to do so by the time they decided to take the matter to the government. The appeal acknowledges that wind farm developments have “significant landscape and/or visual effects” as well as significant environmental effects but the developers argue that the “very clear and substantial” benefits outweigh these drawbacks and reiterated that the proposed development was fully reversible. They also pointed out that the extension was “strongly supported by Scottish energy and planning policies” and that the balance of considerations weighed in its favour.
Fife Council now have 21 days to respond and senior planning manager Jim Birrell said, “We are extremely disappointed that the applicants have decided to appeal on the grounds of non-determination without the proposal being considered by committee. They also did not inform us directly of this decision.
“We had discussed our concerns over the applicant’s plans to extend the wind farm at Little Raith with them and worked hard to reach agreement on the way forward.
“However, despite our best efforts we received information that an appeal was being processed over the Christmas holidays.
“We are now submitting our comments to the DPEA and will await the outcome of the appeal in due course.”
James Glen, of Lochgelly community website Loch of Shining Waters, said, “Quietly lodging an appeal on Christmas Eve with offices closed for a fortnight and everyone focused on their holidays is a cheap trick but is the kind of thing we have come to expect from Kennedy Renewables and Wemyss Estate,” he said.
“People in Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath and Auchtertool are already forced to live with the noise pollution, shadow flicker and visual intrusion of the existing wind farm. These impacts have proven much greater than originally promised by the developer and concerns about them remain unresolved despite being the subject of residents’ complaints and an ongoing Scottish Government study into problem wind farms.”