Turbine guidelines are a ‘pick & mix’ mess says Burntisland community group

Wind turbine
Wind turbine

Fife Council’s guidelines on where wind turbines should be allowed have been described as “completely contradictory.”

And the chairman of Burntisland Community Council, which is set to consider another planning application for a turbine at Balbie Farm between Burntisland and Auchtertool, says it makes it extremely difficult for groups to make decisions on whether to object.

Alex McDonald voiced his opinion this week following a meeting of the Community Council last Friday in which an application for a 67m wind turbine on farmland above the town, by Edinburgh-based renewable energy company Locogen and Kingdom Housing Association, was discussed, following a presentation from the company.

A previous application for a 74m turbine drew a number of objections last October, including from the Community Council and was withdrawn - now a bid has been made for a smaller one.

Mr McDonald said: “Fife Council’s planning guidelines on wind turbines comprise half a dozen reports, each up to 90 pages long, which were last approved in June 2013.

“Even within the same part of the same report there are contradictions.”

He said one diagram indicated the land in question as being ‘landscape with no capacity.’

He added: “The corresponding text says that there is ‘low capacity for medium-sized turbines.’ A few lines later it becomes ‘landscape with occasional wind turbines’ ... and then ‘medium-sized turbines with very occasional large turbines.’

“Later still, it says the guidelines should ‘discourage close proximity of large turbines to the most prominent land forms and any turbines on the summits of prominent land forms’.

“More precisely, it then says that proposals should ‘avoid the southern part of the Culalloe Hills opposite Edinburgh.’

“The bottom line is that anybody can pick the particular description that best suits their purpose and claim to be within the guidelines.

“It defeats the whole purpose of having them in the first place and calls into question the time and effort invested in preparing the documentation. On individual proposals, it makes our task even harder.

“We will do our best to decide what is in the best interest of Burntisland.”