A site inspection is to be carried out in the East Neuk next week by a Scottish Government Reporter in an area earmarked for a windfarm development.
Tuesday’s visit will focus on Carnbee where Bonerbo, Drumrack and Balmonth Farms have jointly applied to erect three 67-metre turbines, bordering the B940.
According to opponents, the applicants appealed to the Scottish Government in June because Fife Council failed to decide the application within the statutory two-month period.
A spokesman for a local environmental group explained that the East Neuk Ridge has been targeted by wind developers, with the Bonerbo windfarm sandwiched between proposals for five 335-feet turbines at Lingo to the west, and a six 328-feet turbine windfarm at Kenly to the east, as well as numerous smaller turbine proposals.
Apart from the visual and landscape impacts of the windfarm, objectors claim that pilots using the nearby airfield at Kingsmuir have raised safety concerns.
The spokesman for SCALE - Save Carnbee and Arncroach Landscape and Environment - said: ”It’s indefensible that the Reporter, an unelected central government official, instead of Fife Council, gets to decide whether this development goes ahead.
“Fife councillors have been completely bypassed. They don’t even get the opportunity to let the Reporter know their views, even though this is the biggest development the area has seen for decades. It would establish an industrial windfarm on the East Neuk Ridge and will dominate the entire landscape, irrevocably altering its character.”
SCALE has pointed out that agents for the applicant have lodged a further application for three 220-feet turbines on the same site.
The spokesman concluded: ”Simultaneously appealing and lodging a new identical application is an attempt to put local authorities under pressure to consent an application before the Reporter makes his decision because, otherwise, the local authority has no chance to impose any conditions.
‘‘In my opinion it is playing the system, pure and simple.”
Meanwhile, residents of the communities around St Andrews University’s proposed windfarm at Kenly are “delighted” that the institution has renewed its consultation with them after a 16-month lull.
Representatives of the community councils of Boarhills/Dunino and Kingsbarns met the university’s environment and energy manager, Roddy Yarr, to explore a number of outstanding issues.
A spokesman for Boarhills and Dunino Community Council said: ”Mr Yarr listened to our concerns and suggestions and gave us to understand he would consult further and come back with some constructive responses.”
The spokesman added that levels of anxiety of local residents have been rising in recent weeks as the university’s application appeared to be heading for a decision at a meeting of the local authority’s North East Fife area committee on August 29.
However, it has since emerged that the application will not be considered until the meeting of September 26 to enable additional information submitted by the university to be advertised and assessed by third parties.