Scottish Natural Heritage has withdrawn its official objection to St Andrews University’s proposed wind farm at Kenly - but maintain they still have “significant concerns” over the project.
The group had originally objected to the planning application but said they would reconsider their position once they had received further information from the university.
In August, SNH met with representatives from the university and Fife Council and they have now written to the local authority to withdraw their objection despite going on to list concerns they still hold about the effect the scheme could have on the town.
In the letter, SNH said: “We do have significant concerns over the landscape and visual impacts of the proposal on St Andrews.”
Those concerns centre on the 40m blades being visible on the St Andrews skyline when viewed from the West Sands and Links. SNH believe this will detract from the historic significance of the medieval skyline, adversely affect the landscape setting of St Andrews and diminish the overall views of residents and tourists in the town.
“The turbines will detract from the importance of the medieval townscape of St Andrews,” the letter explains.
“In views from the north, the turbines will be seen behind the skyline to the left of views of this historic townscape. The viewer’s eye will be drawn by the movement of the blades, and will subsequently be pulled left and right across the skyline between the core
of the old town and the turbines.
“The blades will be highly incongruous and discordant elements in this view. They will contrast strongly with historic landmark features such as St Salvator’s Tower and St Rules Tower which are representative of the well-preserved and unchanging nature of St Andrews.
“The turbines will draw views away, and thus detract from - and diminish the importance of - the medieval skyline, which is an essential and key component of the character of St Andrews.”
The university’s application is for a six-turbine, 12.3 megawatt facility at Kenly farm, a few miles south of the town and it is a major component of the university’s strategy to offset rising energy costs.
Despite reducing its energy consumption in recent years, rising costs have seen the university’s bills triple since 2005 to £5.4 million per annum.
They believe Kenly could generate enough electricity to meet the needs of the scientific operations at the North Haugh and the rest of the institution’s electricity demand.