Work may start on a university’s windfarm before it is established how interference with radar at the nearby military airfield will be avoided.
St Andrews University warned the project is at serious risk by a delay in agreeing a radar mitigation scheme with the Ministry of Defence to protect air traffic control at Leuchars airfield.
It said it needs to start work at Kenly Farm, south-east of St Andrews, next month and wants relaxation of a planning condition to allow this.
The condition prevents any work until approval of the radar measures but Fife Council planners have recommended councillors amend the wording to allow jobs such as building access roads and laying cables to be done.
Opponents claim this could mean unnecessary disruption for neighbours if no solution for preventing radar interference is found.
A decision is expected today by the north east Fife planning committee.
The condition was one of a number made by the Scottish Government reporter who gave the go-ahead in 2013.
Campaigners against the six 328ft turbines near the villages of Dunino, Kingsbarns and Boarhills accused the university of acting irresponsibly.
A spokesman for Kenly Landscape Protection Group said: “Two and a half years on the university has not come up with a mitigation scheme and there does not seem to be one in prospect, as confirmed to KLPG by the MoD.
“Now the university wants to set a precedent in Scottish planning by watering down the condition so it can start work regardless.
“Starting work now when there is no evidence that the radar problem can be solved will cause huge disruption to local people and businesses using the area and run the risk of radium contamination.”
The university has appointed a partner to help progress the project, which it hopes to connect to the grid by March 2017, and said the amendment had been agreed with the MoD.
The spokesman said: “The purpose of amending the condition is to enable the development to consider commencement of construction works on other elements relating to the windfarm, ie access roads, cable infrastructure.
“There is still a requirement to agree a radar mitigation scheme with the MoD before the wind turbines can be erected.
“We continue to believe that developing Kenly windfarm is the correct approach in order to avoid long term price volatility of fossil fuels, safeguard jobs locally and to make a step change in reducing carbon emissions.
“We remain confident that we can deliver this within the target timescales, acknowledging that radar mitigation remains a serious threat to the project.”
The Leuchars base is still required to provide a diversionary runway for aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth.
Planning consent would lapse in October if no work begins.
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