‘Muchty braced for new windfarm battle

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AUCHTERMUCHTY residents who fought for more than 18 months against the creation of a windfarm on nearby farmland may be gearing up for another battle.

Environmental consultancy Green Cat Renewables has taken the first step towards lodging two planning applications which together would see a total of seven turbines erected — three of them on a site at Rossie, just outside the town, which was the subject of a lengthy planning inquiry three years ago.

The other four would be situated on land at Pitcarlie, a designated area of great landscape value that lies some three kilometres north of Auchtermuchty.

In both cases the Edinburgh-based consultancy — who are also behind a controversial application at Clatto Hill near Pitlessie — have asked Fife Council whether it is necessary for environmental impact assessments to be carried out prior to the applications being lodged.

Andy Heer, chairman of the town’s community association, said that the issue was due to be raised at Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo Community Council this Monday, February 28, and he expected the proposals would provoke strong reaction.

He said it was ‘worrying’ that Rossie had been earmarked so soon after the previous furore, when more than 400 letters of objection were received and a local campaign mounted against plans for a five-turbine windfarm on the site.

In 2008, a Scottish Government reporter refused planning permission and threw out an appeal by the applicant, EnergieKontor, saying that the project would be contrary to Fife Council’s local development plan and that he attached ‘significant weight’ to expressions of local concern.

This time around the would-be developer is e-Gen, based in the Borders.

It wants to erect three turbines at Rossie and four at Pitcarlie, all with a hub height of up to 60 metres.

In their request for a ‘screening direction’ from the local authority — guidance as to whether the applications should be subject to environmental impact assessments — Green Cat Renewables say that both sites are potentially suitable for four wind turbines of up to 84 metres in height.

The company also acknowledges that most of the Rossie site lies within an area of great landscape value and in both cases there may be some ‘significant effects.’

However, the small scale of the proposed developments would mean that most of the significant effects would be localised within 5km.