Eleven organisations and groups from across Fife have written to the Chief Executive of Fife Council to complain that the Planning Department is failing local communities and individual residents threatened by turbine applications.

Planning reports, which Councillors use to decide applications, ignore national and local policies. They uncritically accept developers’ statements, especially about the the visual impact of turbines, in a way which “is prejudicial to the people of Fife”.

“The specific problems we see are:

  1. A culture of denial of adverse visual impact even when local communities object in considerable numbers with this as a primary reason
  2. The absence of a critical approach by the planning authority to the environmental impact assessments. These are self serving documents which ascribe significance of visual impact in the developer’s terms and not in the terms of the people who would receive the impact
  3. ASH guidelines are interpreted as if proposals are automatically acceptable at their upper limits or beyond. The guidelines describe a range of turbine heights and numbers in a broad context to encourage a developer to make the best fit choice of turbine to limit the landscape and visual impact.
  4. Uncritical acceptance of noise regulations, which by the Council’s own admission don’t always protect residential amenity
  5. There is a lack of rigour in referencing all assessment objectively to all of the relevant policies and this is resulting in local impacts of significance being ignored.“

The letter follows hot on the heels of a complaint last week to the Head of Planning about the handling of windfarm applications, pending at Clatto Hill and Devon Wood, and a complaint last year about a determined application at Earlseat.

Graham Lang of the East Fife Turbine Awareness Group said: “We all live in areas in which wind turbine applications are coming forward, at an alarming rate. The need to ensure that policies designed to protect communities and individual dwellings are afforded proper weight in assessments has never been greater. We believe the Planning Service needs to act urgently and decisively to address the concerns we are raising.”

PLEASE NOTE: Fife Council itself has admitted it is finding the massive increase in turbine applications very challenging in its recent submission to the Energy Tourism and Enterprise Committee’s Inquiry into Renewables Targets

This presents a series of challenges, no more so than increased pressure on staff resource, as wind energy applications are complex and can take considerable timescales to properly assess and determine. There is also a high level of technical expertise required by staff to properly assess applications.

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EconomyEnergyandTourismCommittee/Inquiries/Fife_Council.pdf

For comment, please see; http://fifewindfarms.org.uk/a-storm-of-applications-in-fife-council/

For more on Scotland-wide difficulties for planners, see the Heads of Planning submission at; http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EconomyEnergyandTourismCommittee/Inquiries/Heads_of_Planning_Scotland.pdf

Information published on behalf of EFTAG (East Fife Turbine Awareness Group), please visit: www.eftag.info
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3 Comments

  1. David Ramsbotham

    April 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    We need to get the Government onside, as well as local councils and others, if we are going to stop these wind turbines being built.

    Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please register your objection to the Government on

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

    or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958” and following the link.

    Please pass this message on to Councillors, members of your community and anyone else you know to persuade them to sign up too. If you are really concerned about wind turbines please write a letter promoting this petition to your local Newsletter and to the Editors of your local newspapers.

    Reply

  2. Michael

    September 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Its outrageous that they built turbines in Lochgelly! It spoils the view of Mossmorran!

    However;

    Public opinion Surveys of public attitudes across Europe and in many other countries show strong public support for wind power About 80 percent of EU citizens support wind power.

    Which should be increased in Scotland?

    A 2003 survey of residents living around Scotland’s 10 existing wind farms found high levels of community acceptance and strong support for wind power, with much support from those who lived closest to the wind farms. The results of this survey support those of an earlier Scottish Executive survey ‘Public attitudes to the Environment in Scotland 2002’, which found that the Scottish public would prefer the majority of their electricity to come from renewables, and which rated wind power as the cleanest source of renewable energy. A survey conducted in 2005 showed that 74% of people in Scotland agree that wind farms are necessary to meet current and future energy needs. When people were asked the same question in a Scottish renewables study conducted in 2010, 78% agreed. The increase is significant as there were twice as many wind farms in 2010 as there were in 2005. The 2010 survey also showed that 52% disagreed with the statement that wind farms are “ugly and a blot on the landscape”. 59% agreed that wind farms were necessary and that how they looked was unimportant. Scotland is planning to obtain 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020

    The majority of people in the local area are pro wind otherwise there would have been significantly more objections to wind farm being built.

    Its very clear this website is anti-wind.!

    As a local resident I am angry that this local community site is not persuing the funds offered to benefit those who need it in the local community from the wind developers. This socialy deprived area with high unemployment should be welcoming of investment into the area. Where are the pits now ? The hay day of this area was industry… the turbines will be gone in 20 odd years, the subsidys sooner and mossmorran will still be there no doubt!

    There is >10GW of wind installed in UK, the National Grid figures you quote are highly inacurate.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      September 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      There is >10GW of wind installed in UK, the National Grid figures you quote are highly inacurate.

      The figures are automatically scraped from the National Grid. As for the 10Gw figure, if this is the installed capacity of wind energy in the UK, it just highlights how inefficient wind energy actually is, more so than what we originally thought.

      The majority of people in the local area are pro wind otherwise there would have been significantly more objections to wind farm being built.

      It would have helped if the local Community Councils, Kennedy Renewables and West COast Energy engaged with the public more, I can assure you a lot of people in Lochgelly were unaware of the plans. Additionally, our poll on Little Raith Wind Farm shows;

      Do you support the Little Raith Wind Farm project?
      No (89%, 433 Votes)
      Yes (8%, 41 Votes)
      Unsure (1%, 6 Votes)
      No Opinion (2%, 4 Votes)

      Not an overwhelming majority of pro-wind supporters.

      As a local resident…

      You are not a local resident, you do not stay in Lochgelly, Lumphinnans, Cowdenbeath, or Auchtertool. However you do work at Little Raith Wind Farm. Vested interest.

      I am angry that this local community site is not persuing the funds offered to benefit those who need it in the local community from the wind developers.

      Why should we pursue this fund, the money belongs to everyone in the four areas, since it is being taken from them through their household energy bills due to the ROCs in place. The so-called benefit is only a small return of what the developers are taking from us. The money should be split equally between every resident in the four towns which will work out as a couple of quid per person. The community benefit will never compensate those that have had their property values slashed, that are suffering from shadow flicker and noise pollution, that are suffering from health impacts, and those that have had their enjoyment of their area and home ruined for at least the next 25 years.

      Its very clear this website is anti-wind.!

      Of course we are anti-wind, because it does not work, the technology is inefficient and the cost to everyone is extortionate that provides very little return on investment. The only persons that wind farms benefit is the developers seeking to cash in on the very large and favourable wind subsidies.

      Whats it like to be in a job that is subsidsed by UK residents to a tune of £154,000 per year?

      Reply

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