THE group behind plans to create a community windfarm near Newburgh has expressed dismay in the wake of damning comments from Scottish Natural Heritage.
Members of Newburgh Community Trust were met for crunch talks on Thursday after the government agency expressed concerns that the three 100m turbines proposed would have an adverse impact on the surrounding landscape,
The group wants to erect the turbines on Lindores Hill with the aim of generating enough power for local householders and ploughing profits back into the community.
The plans, which are awaiting consideration by north east Fife area committee, have divided local opinion, with most objectors sharing SNH’s view that the development would be a blight on the landscape.
In his submission to Fife Council, SNH operations manager Gavin Johnson says that the turbines would dominate Lindores Hill and local views and would appear ‘too large’ in the context of the local landscape.
He fears they would also dominate views from Newburgh itself and affect the views to the Newburgh Bear, a local cultural landmark, as well as dominate the tranquil setting of Lindores Loch.
“The three turbines will be seen from the Carse of Gowrie, the south-facing slopes of the Sidlaws and from well-used Kinnoull Hill,” says Mr Johnson.
“The Fife skyline is currently ‘windfarm-free’ in these views and the turbines will thus become an eye-catching new feature.”
However, trust chairman Andrew Arbuckle said he was ‘surprised’ at the comments being made at this stage in the application process.
“This is the first time that SNH have commented about the height of the proposed turbines,” he said.
“It seems strange that a government agency should come up with this now, after working alongside the trust for so long in relation to this project.
“However the application will be going before the committee in its present form.”
Councillor Arbuckle stressed that although he is also chair of the north east Fife area committee, he will not play any part in the decision-making process.