Will we be wind turbine ‘guinea pigs’ in Leven?

A wind turbine.
A wind turbine.

A NEW campaign group claims Methil residents are being “sacrificed as guinea pigs” to live under the shadow of Scotland’s tallest wind turbine.

Scotland Against Spin (SAS) said it was a “recipe for disaster” to site Samsung’s 650-foot mast on the doorstep of a deprived community.

Plans to erect the demonstrator turbine at Fife Energy Park are expected to be rubber-stamped by the Scottish Government soon.

However, SAS spokesperson Graham Lang claimed government agency Marine Scotland is negligent in failing to protect hundreds of people from noise nuisance.

“Families unfortunate enough to live beside noisy turbines end up at their wits’ end,” he explained.

“Unable to sleep and afflicted by a range of health impacts from the noise, they are then driven to despair when they find the authorities can do nothing to help them.

He added: “We’ve had plenty of spin about this project from Samsung, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government.

‘‘But it can’t be right to give no thought at all to the health and quality of life of hundreds of local people in what is already one of the historically most deprived communities in Scotland.

Experiment

“This is a giant experiment and without an enforceable noise condition Methil residents are being sacrificed as guinea pigs.”

Korean giant Samsung Heavy Industries will build the three-bladed 7MW test turbine 48 metres into the Firth of Forth but, at 196 metres high, the mast is more than twice the height of the existing turbine at Methil’s Hydrogen Office.

According to Mr Lang, noise conditions requiring turbines to be switched off when noise levels reach a statutory maximum they were “notoriously difficult, if not downright impossible to enforce.”

While broadly accepting Samsung’s turbine application, Fife Council has raised noise concerns in a report sent to Marine Scotland.

Assurances

The local authority sought assurance that levels be kept 3-4 decibels below approved limits for the sake of 60 households in close proximity to the turbine.

The report added: “We seek assurance that any noise breach identified will be appropriately dealt with by the operators in less than 12 hours to ensure local residents do not suffer undue impact for a period before a remedy can be undertaken.”

Meanwhile, Samsung has already moved into Fife Energy Park, creating three offices and 19 jobs to lead the turbine development.