Uni wind farm blows closer

A piece of this wind turbine has broken off at Longpark wind farm near Stow.
A piece of this wind turbine has broken off at Longpark wind farm near Stow.

St Andrews University has been given the go-ahead to start work on the planned Kenly wind farm.

The university had appealed to the Scottish Government after Fife Council refused a change to the conditions to allow work to start before planning permission expires early next month.

The council had said that work could not start on the site until a radar mitigation scheme had been agreed with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). That has been amended to prevent only the erection of any wind turbine before the radar mitigation scheme was agreed.

A radar mitigation scheme has still not been agreed with the MoD.

Agreeing to the university’s appeal, Scottish Government reporter Don Rankin commented: “The appellant would like to get the project underway to prevent the permission lapsing and to enable an application for Renewable Obligation funding.”

Locally, controversy still rages about the plan with objections lodged against every step the university takes.

Following this week’s decision a university spokesman commented: “We are fully committed to our plans for Kenly, which have already won approval from Scottish Ministers, and will continue to work to put in place the consents necessary to allow building work to go ahead quickly in future, if a radar mitigation solution is found.

“If it goes ahead, this project will safeguard local jobs, cut carbon emissions and help protect world-leading research in St Andrews.”

Councillor Brian Thomson added some guarded support: “Whilst I still have concerns that a failure to agree a radar mitigation scheme could result in a partially completed development project, I think we now need to move on, and acknowledge the positives that could arise from the development. For the university to achieve its aim of becoming a carbon neutral University would be good for the environment, and spending less on energy costs would allow the university to invest in other areas, with knock-on benefits for the local economy.”