CAMPAIGNERS opposed to two windfarms being built on a Howe of Fife hillside have stepped up their fight to persuade councillors the plans should be refused.
West Coast Energy wants to build five 115-metre turbines at Devon Wood on Clatto Hill, while Midlothian-based Green Cat Renewables wants to erect three 100 metre turbines nearby.
The controversial applications are both expected to come before Fife councillors on the north east Fife area committee when it meets on February 22.
Many opposed to “the industrialisation of the hillside” expect that Fife Council planners will recommend the proposals for approval.
West Coast Energy has reduced the original number of turbines from seven to five and their height from 121 metres to 115 metres in response to ‘public’ comments.
It is also thought that like previous windfarm applications in the area, local councillors will go against planners’ recommendations for approval.
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That would result in the application going before Fife Council’s central planning committee in Glenrothes, where, it has been claimed, it would be more likely to gain the green light.
With just weeks to go before the decision is taken, Clatto Landscape Protection Group (CLPG) is in the process of personally delivering to each councillor on both the north east Fife area committee and the planning committee a detailed booklet outlining the case for rejecting the applications.
Claiming the windfarms are “too high, too close, too many and too visible” and would set “a disastrous precedent for local communities and the Fife landscape”, the document contains a number of illustrated explanations detailing the detrimental impact on the local environment.
CLPG claims the turbines would dominate the landscape and skyline, create noise, distract drivers and threaten wildlife habitats.
The group also states that consent for these applications are contrary to sixteen local authority and government planning policies and any approval would open the floodgates for similar applications in the area.
The document includes a highly detailed map of the area and identifies the homes and communities most affected as well as those who will be able to see and hear the machines.
Campaigners also hope councillors will not be swayed by West Coast Energy’s offer of a communtity benefit package of £3500 to the Kettle, Kennoway and Star community for each megawatt the windfarm produces, plus the funding of six college scholarships for local youngsters interested in entering the renewables industry.
Since Green Cat Renewables’ application for three turbines at Clatto Farm was lodged in 2010, it has attracted 301 objections from members of the public and organisations.
Only two letters of support are listed on Fife Council’s planning website.
There have been 319 objections to West Coast Energy’s proposal since it was lodged in 2010 and 154 letters in support of the application, the vast majority of which were submitted between February 8 and 10, 2011, shortly after the company held its second public exhibition.