A CONTROVERSIAL plan to install wind turbines in Largoward will be decided by the Scottish Government after Fife Council failed to reach a decision on time.
The application for two 100-metre turbines at South Cassingray Farm was submitted to Fife Council on July 20 last year.
However, last month they said the application had raised complex issues that had delayed the decision-making process.
Developer, Gordon Pay of Cupar, has now forwarded the matter to the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals.
Objections were lodged by the community councils in Largoward and Cameron as well as the group Protect Largoward Environment and Amenity(PLEA), set up by some concerned residents.
The Ministry of Defence lodged an objection based on the site’s proximity to the primary surveillance radar at Leuchars.
They offered to consider any solution from the developer that would allow them to withdraw their objection. Mr Pay responded to the RAF’s concerns by highlighting wind turbines that operate near RAF Marham and the US airbase at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
On February 22, David Naylor Gray of the MOD wrote to Fife Council dismissing any arguments based on comparing the Largoward site with turbines near other military installations.
He added: “I am concerned by comments suggesting wind turbines in proximity to RAF Marham and the American Base at Guantanamo Bay set a precedent for the acceptability of this wind turbine being in proximity to RAF Leuchars.
“I cannot comment on the specifics of the turbines on Cuba save to point out that comparisons are not valid, given that the US Airforce uses different air traffic control procedures and equipment to the RAF.”
Scottish Natural Heritage objected to the scheme on the basis of their being insufficeint information to determine whether there would be a significant effect on the “goose qualifying interests of Special Protection Areas” in the area around Cassingray.
They also claim that insufficient information is available to allow them to comment on the nature of landscape and visual impacts as well as possible effects on bats and peregrines.
A council spokesperson confirmed the matter had now passed to the Scottish Government although the council will also be submitting their view on the proposal.
The spokesperson added: “As part of the planning legislation, an applicant has the opportunity to appeal a case to the Government if the application process has gone beyond a certain timescale, and this is what the applicant has done in this case.
“It’s been with us a while owing to the complexity of the application and things that have to be taken into account - but it will now be for the Scottish Government to decide whether the planning application is successful or not.
“All the comments that have been submitted to us will be passed on to the Government, to whom those who commented will have the opportunity to address if they wish. The council will also submit our view on the case.”