In a previous article we discussed the ‘Community Benefit‘ to be provided to the local communities through the 4 Winds Development Trust. The amount offered (£45,000) is pennies compared to the additional costs the local communities will be losing amounting to £763,950.00, which will increase per year as more Wind Energy developments are created throughout Fife, Scotland, and the UK 1.
There is no guarantee that this fund will be split equally, and some years, some of the communities may not receive any funding at all. Basically the 4 Winds Development Trust will be a game of Funding Roulette with a new set of winners and losers every year.
For this article we will be looking at the recommended Buffer/Setback zones and how each turbine will effect each local community. Setback zones have been suggested as they protect residents from flying debris from rotor damage and Ice Throw, Health issues, Flicker Effect, Noise Pollution, including Low Frequency Noise, and the lowering of Property Values.
Fife Council guidelines state there should be a 2km Setback zone from any Industrial Turbine development which exceeds 20Mw (Little Raith is predicted to generate 24Mw – 27Mw) 2, EU guidance recommend a 3km setback and research conducted by Villey-Migraine, Marjolaine (Docteur en sciences de l’information et de la communication) indicate a setback zone of a minimum of 5km due to the risk of Infrasound 3
Turbine Distances – Auchtertool
We have checked the location of each turbine and the distance to Auchtertool for the 2km setback zone, 3km setback and the 5km setback zone to get a better idea on how the Little Raith Wind Farm will impact on Auchtertool. The Auchtertool measurements were calculated to the entrance to Auchtertool from Fonthill Avenue connected to the B925
- Turbine 1: 3.5km
- Turbine 2: 3.2km
- Turbine 3: 3.1km
- Turbine 4: 2.9km
- Turbine 5: 2.8km
- Turbine 6: 2.6km
- Turbine 7: 2.5km
- Turbine 8: 2.2km
- Turbine 9: 2.1km
According to the Fife Council setback guidance, there is no turbines within the 2km limit, 6 turbines are within the 3km zone and all the turbines are within the 5km setback guidance recommended by Spécialiste de l’Information Scientifique et Technique (IST)
Turbine Distances – Cowdenbeath
We have checked the location of each turbine and the distance to Cowdenbeath for the 2km setback zone from the corner of Thistle St and Watson St.
- Turbine 1: 1.1km
- Turbine 2: 1.3km
- Turbine 3: 1.5km
- Turbine 4: 1.7km
- Turbine 5: 1.8km
- Turbine 6: 2.0km
- Turbine 7: 2.2km
- Turbine 8: 2.4km
- Turbine 9: 2.7km
6 Industrial Turbines are located within the recommended 2km Setback zone. With the 3km checks, over 90% of Cowdenbeath will be in range of all the turbines. We have also checked the 5km setback zone by measuring from the farthest edge of Cowdenbeath from Foulford Road connecting onto Old Perth Road. Checking the radius of each turbine we can conclude that all 9 turbines will affect the entire population of Cowdenbeath.
Turbine Distances – Lumphinnans
For Lumphinnans we checked the 2km setback zone from the top of Gagarin Way.
- Turbine 1: 1.6km
- Turbine 2: 1.9km
- Turbine 3: 1.8km
- Turbine 4: 2.1km
- Turbine 5: 2.0km
- Turbine 6: 2.3km
- Turbine 7: 2.3km
- Turbine 8: 2.6km
- Turbine 9: 2.7km
From this location, Lumphinnans will be affected by 3 Industrial Turbines. We also checked the 3km and 5km Setback from the bottom of Gagarin Way and discovered that all 9 Turbines are within the 3km and 5km setback zone.
Turbine Distances – Lochgelly
We have checked the distance of each turbine for Lochgelly from the top of Hamilton Brae, going onto South Street and Waters Crescent.
- Turbine 1: 1.6km
- Turbine 2: 1.8km
- Turbine 3: 1.5km
- Turbine 4: 1.8km
- Turbine 5: 1.4km
- Turbine 6: 1.6km
- Turbine 7: 1.4km
- Turbine 8: 1.7km
- Turbine 9: 1.6km
From this location all 9 turbines are within the recommended 2km setback zone for an Industrial development on Industrial Turbines. We also checked the 5km setback zone from the entrance of the railway station at Stationhead Road. Again all 9 Turbines are within the 3km & 5km setback zone.
Setback zones have been recommended to try and reduce the impact from Industrial Turbines. The 2km, 3km and the 5km setback is only guidance, as the technology has never been fully tested for the negative aspects, yet there is a lot of independently researched and peer reviewed scientific evidence that the negative aspects of Wind Farms, far outstrip the very limited and minuscule benefits (which have not been proven through peer reviewed research). We can conclude:
- The entire town of Lochgelly and population will have the most impacted area from the Little Raith Wind Farm development
- The entire Lumphinnans population will also have the most negative impact from the Industrial Turbines, but due to a low population will probably be superseded by Cowdenbeath
- A large majority of the population of Cowdenbeath will be impacted by the Industrial Turbines within 3km of the development, and the 5km setback will affect all of Cowdenbeath
- Under the 2km setback guidance, Auchtertool will not be impacted at all. Under the 3km and 5km guidance, Auchtertool will be impacted by all 9 Industrial Turbines. Under the 2km guidance, Auchtertool will be the community with less to lose but with more to gain
Due to the funding roulette rather than a fair distribution of funds based on what area will be most impacted, some of the communities most at risk may receive little to no funding, while other communities may absorb all the funding for their area.
It is guaranteed that once the funding becomes available, there will be a rush from all the local groups in all four communities, and we suspect there will be in-fighting between the four communities due to the way the funds will be distributed and not necessarily equally, based on what community is most at risk.
All this in-fighting will also allow the developers to quietly profit from their Industrial Turbines while communities fight amongst themselves. The Industrial Wind Farm will not bring the communities closer together, due to the funding roulette we can certainly expect more resentments growing between the four communities.
If you have concerns over the Industrial Wind Farm at Little Raith, we advise you contact your local community Council and put your concerns forward and ask them to research and debate the issue.
- Loch of Shining Waters, 4 Winds Development Trust, http://lochgelly.org.uk/2011/09/4-winds-development-trust/ ↩
- Fife Council, Wind Energy, page 18, 5.2.3 Impact on Communities and Buffer Zones, http://admin.1fife.org.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_WindEnergyfinal.pdf ↩
- Marjolaine Villey-Migraine, Docteur en sciences de l’information et de la communication, Université Paris II-Panthéon-Assas, Spécialiste de l’Information Scientifique et Technique (IST), Translated by Wind-Watch, http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/eoliennes-sons-et-infrasons-effets-de-leolien-industriel-sur-la-sante-des-hommes-wind-turbines-noise-and-infrasound-effects-of-industrial-wind-energy-on-human-health/ ↩