Plans by St Andrews University to create a wind farm at Kenly have been dealt a significant blow – to the delight of anti- turbine campaigners.
The university had appealed against a decision made by councillors last summer to refuse its application to lay an underground cable some 15.4km from its proposed windfarm – for which it has planning permission – to Largo Road in St Andrews.
But the Scottish Government reporter dismissed the appeal and accused the university of ‘avoidable negligence’ by failing to notify all the landowners whose land the cable would pass through.
The university had been given two opportunities to notify the relevant landowners but failed to do so and the reporter, David Russell, said that in the circumstances he was unable to determine the appeal.
Now members of the Kenly Landscape Protection Group – set up six years ago to oppose the plans – are calling on the university to ‘give up and leave local communities in peace’.
Said spokesman Graham Lang: “This is the latest setback for the University’s wind farm project which was consented on appeal over four years ago.
“The University’s cable application proved controversial with residents and communities in Boarhills, Dunino and Cameron because it took an unnecessarily circuitous route, running very close to properties, hedges and trees, and promising major disruption for road-users.
“The wind farm has been officially classed as a “stranded asset” by the renewables industry, it has lost the chance of subsidy which was its impetus in the first place, the show-stopper of radar interference remains unresolved and radium contamination at the proposed site has not been ruled out.
“The University should call time on this ill-fated project. After six years, local residents, businesses and communities deserve relief from the stress and blight of a major industrial installation appearing on their doorstep.”
Councillor Linda Holt, who represents East Neuk and Landward, said:“The University has given this project its best shot, investing far more than any private developer could have afforded, and it’s time to recognise that Kenly is the wrong place for a wind farm.
“The project has caused a lot of grief and pain locally, and dropping it now would give the University a chance to build more constructive relationships with communities in the Neuk.”
A spokesman for the University of St Andrews said: “We’re considering the Reporter’s findings carefully, however the University remains fully committed to our strategy of reducing our carbon footprint, decreasing our reliance on external energy providers, and protecting local jobs.”