- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Little Raith windfarm developer accused of ‘cheap trick’ in way it lodged appeal

A windfarm developer has been accused of showing contempt for those who live near its turbines.

Kennedy Renewables has taken its bid to erect six more massive turbines near Lochgelly to the Scottish Government.

It lodged an appeal after Fife Council failed to determine its planning application for an extension to the Little Raith Wind Farm within four months.

Instead of local councillors deciding whether to grant planning consent for the 415ft-high structures, a government-appointed reporter will make the call.

James Glen, who runs the Loch of Shining Waters community website, said the move shows how developers “intent on maximising profits” had “zero respect” for the will of local communities and Fife Council.

The appeal was lodged on December 29 and this week councillors on Fife’s central area planning committee expressed their opposition to the development, for submission to the reporter.

Mr Glen said: “Quietly lodging an appeal at Christmas 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.

“People in Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath and Auchtertool are already forced to live with the noise pollution, shadow flicker and visual intrusion of the existing windfarm.”

The new turbines would be closer to the A92 and to Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath than the nine already operational beside Fife Ethylene Plant.

Mr Glen claimed the impact of the existing turbines was much greater than originally stated by the developer and concerns remained unresolved despite complaints from residents.

He also pointed out the windfarm was the subject of a Scottish Government study into predicted and actual impact of wind turbines.

“Unsurprisingly, there is strong local opposition to the six extra turbines proposed,” Mr Glen said.

Planner James Wright confirmed at Wednesday’s meeting that officers were going to recommend the planning application – which was submitted under the name of WK Extension Project Ltd – be refused.

Mr Glen said: “The only reason they have now cut and run to the Scottish Government for a decision is that they were not confident that they could persuade elected members of the merits of their case.”

He said the applicant had “consistently ignored” and “misrepresented” local feeling against the extension. In an online poll Loch of Shining Waters stated only 19 per cent of respondents said they supported the proposal to extend the windfarm.

The Courier contacted Kennedy Renewables but received no response.

Although there were 320 objections to the planning application, the applicant claimed in appeal papers that there is significant support from residents in nearby Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, Lochgelly and Auchtertool.

It also claimed the development would bring economic and environmental benefits, creating jobs and renewable energy, and pointed out the site was in an industrial landscape, including a major overhead electricity line, the ethylene plant and other turbines.

Fife Council is proposing to recommend the appeal be dismissed on the grounds of significant adverse impact upon the landscape and visual amenity of the area, that there are already too many very large turbines in the area and that the turbines would be visible to Edinburgh Airport radar.