University accuses MoD of refusing to negotiate over windfarm plans

Fife Council is being asked to renew planning permission for a windfarm which has been held up due to a dispute between the University of St Andrews and MoD.

Friday, 6th March 2020, 9:34 am
St Salvator's Quad at St Andrews University.

In 2013 the university was given planning permission to build a windfarm consisting of six wind turbines at Kenly capable of generating 12.3MW of electricity saving over 9000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

A strict condition of that permission is that construction of wind turbines can only start once agreement has been reached with the Ministry of Defence over a solution to ensure the turbines do not interfere with the radar systems at the former RAF air station at Leuchars.

The university said that despite numerous, repeated and high-level attempts to explore solutions, the MoD has consistently declined to engage and refuses to negotiate to find a way forward.

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However, the MoD argues that it has been engaging with the university and that it would do so with any new proposals.

The new application is effectively for a continuation of the planning permission granted in 2013.

“The university has set a goal to become carbon neutral for our energy use and the award-winning biomass plant at Eden Campus and Kenly are essential elements in achieving that aim,” said St Andrews quaestor and factor Derek Watson.

“The windfarm at Kenly would save 9000 tonnes of carbon per year, enable the university to comply with its duty under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, secure energy pricing into the future freeing up funding for world-class teaching and research and enable St Andrews to become self-sufficient for electrical energy.

“We are fully committed to our plans for Kenly, which have already won approval from Scottish ministers, and will continue to work to put in place the consents necessary to allow building work to go ahead quickly in future, if a radar mitigation solution is found.

“This project will safeguard local jobs, cut carbon emissions and help protect world-leading research in St Andrews.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We have been engaging with the University of St Andrews on the proposed Kenly wind farm project over a number of years.

“The university is required to ensure the wind farm does not interfere with the Air Traffic Control radar at Leuchars Station and we stand ready to engage on any future proposals.”