View towards the Black Woods
View towards the Black Woods
Today one of our volunteers, went up to the Little Raith Wind Farm site with a Community Councillor, who is very familiar with the land as they have spent over 20 years roaming all over the area, and they are very knowledgeable on the local wildlife and habitats.

The purpose of the visit was to check out any changes to the land, as well as view what work is currently being carried out, now that cranes have appeared on the site.

Firstly, the area looks much better than our previous images have shown, however the Community Councillor noticed that the lay of the land has completely changed, with areas raised higher and various wooded areas completely cleared, including a wooded area which was used as a nesting ground for three Buzzards, which are a protected species.

The Buzzards have moved their nesting ground further towards the Little Raith farm, but still use the area where the turbines are to be located as their hunting and feeding ground. During the walk we witnessed a variety of wildlife including Deers, Herons, Ducks and Swans, and once the turbines are operational, we can expect the bird population to decline, with Buzzards a high risk for colliding with turbines.

Little Raith Wind Farm
Little Raith Wind Farm
Several scientific studies also suggest that other forms of wildlife will also decline as wild animals, such as deer, will vacate the area due to the low frequency noise pollution and vibration created by the turbines.

During the walk, we were careful to avoid crossing into the construction site, until we were assured by a local farmer it would be okay, so long as we observe any protocols put in place, and if asked to leave, we would do so. Fortunately, no heavy construction work was being carried out, other than the raising of support structures in preparation for the first turbine going up, which we were told would be on Monday.

We noticed footpath closure signs by Fife Council, however the dates listed were only valid up to the 4th June 2012, and we were able to access the site and pass workers unchallenged. However we chose to observe all safety signs, protocols, and not interfere with any development works.

By Monday evening the developers expect to have the first tower standing, but this will be without the nacelle and turbine blades which will be added later. We are unsure if a turbine will be completed fully before moving onto the next, or if the developer will first raise all the towers, then add the nacelles and turbine blades. The Community Councillor has heard from other sources that all the turbines will be completed by the end of September, barring any unexpected delays.

Turbine base and the Gelly Loch
Turbine base and the Gelly Loch
One of the concerns noted by the Community Councillor, is that with the large amount of concrete poured into the land, this could affect the natural water table. Areas that were once marshes and bogs which hosted a wide variety of wildlife and insect life, can dry up, with new habitats, bogs and marshes forming elsewhere.

The Community Councillor noted that these areas will recover, but through time, possibly up to 15 years, before they are thriving again. It was also commented that the turbine located at the edge of the Black Woods would provide a high risk for the bat population that nest and feed in the area.

If the local bat population is decimated, then insects that damage crops will thrive, and will then require the farmer to increase their usage of pesticides to protect their crops.

At the open day for Little Raith, the developer did state that they are now conducting a Bat study, yet this is a little too late, and the Bat study is not being conducted at the Black Woods where most of the bat population are nesting.

Mossmorran - Benzene Risk?
Mossmorran – Benzene Risk?
Remaining with the open day, held by Kennedy Renewables, the developer (Stephen Klien) stated that they are financing a new survey into the Benzene issue of pollutants from the Mossmorran complex being distributed in higher concentrations locally, as stated by the University of Glasgow researchers, however Kennedy Renewables say that their research may even show that the turbines will decrease the pollutants. However, we have not had access to this report as yet as it is still in the early stages, and until we receive a copy of the report for review, the benzene issue is still an ongoing concern.

We asked the developer about the 2km setback guideline specified by Fife Council, and why they have breached this guideline, with the closest turbine located 1.3km to Cowdenbeath, and the closest turbine 1.6km to Lochgelly (all 9 turbines are within 2km of Lochgelly), and the developer merely stated that they could have built them within 350 metres to Lochgelly if they wanted, which felt as if they were trying to state that we should be grateful they are located where they are as it could have been much worse.

One thing that was funny about the open day, was one question that we asked, stopped the developer and the political lobbyists in their tracks, when we asked if any of them live near wind turbines. This managed to silence the room for a few seconds, before the representative from Invicta PA, sheepishly replied that they lived in the centre of a town, so no.

Pending & Approved - Fife Council
Pending & Approved – Fife Council
The developer was then asked if Kennedy Renewables will be expanding the site, and at present there are no plans to extend the site, however in the future it may be considered, whether that is one, two, four, or more extra turbines, only time will tell. Expansion should be limited though, considering a variety of wind developers are rushing to build wind farms in the local area, with another 5 turbines being planned around Mossmorran, several ongoing applications in Auchtertool, and applications appearing for the Bowhill and Cardenden area.

The bottom of Lochgelly, has so far avoided having any issues with the wind farms, but this will soon change, with developer Banks Renewables soon to submit planning applications for a development stretching from Kelty to Lochgelly, initially for 6 turbines, but reported in the press as 4 turbines, with another Community Councillor claiming they have seen the final plans for 14 turbines.

Kennedy Renewables are confident that the site will produce around 30-35% of their installed capacity, which was a surprise to hear, considering if they achieve this, it will be one of the only wind farms in Scotland to achieve this. The John Muir Trust did a 26 month study of wind farms in Scotland and discovered that wind generation was:

  • below 20% of capacity more than half the time
  • below 10% of capacity over one third of the time
  • below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve
  • below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month

Back to the trek, we first wandered all around the outskirts of the construction site, and the Community Councillor showed us hidden nature havens, where we spotted the deer, and our volunteer was shown signs of where the deer had been resting, also where the deer had been feeding, and that there are signs of a fawn in the area. We left these areas quickly so as not to disturb or cause shock to the fawn, and started our way up to the Rosie Pond.

Warning Sign - Gas Pipeline
Warning Sign – Gas Pipeline
A local farmer approached us, and gave us permission to carry on into the site, so long as we were careful and agreed to obey any instructions from the limited staff working on the site. Walking through the site, we noticed warning signs warning of no exposed flames due to the buried gas pipelines from Mossmorran.

We have always been concerned about the safety impacts on Mossmorran from the turbines, as insurance documents from Germany and Spain show that most wind turbine damage claims from a developer is due to the Nacelle catching fire, so the signs re-affirmed our fears.

The Community Councillor noted that the roadways are very densely packed, and seemed doubtful that these roads would ever be removed once the wind farm was decommissioned. Even if the roads do manage to get removed, the land will never be returned to it’s former state prior to development, due to the excavated dirt forming new hills and ridges.

Upon reaching where the crane is currently sitting, a blue steel structure was sitting which appears to be a mechanical arm for a much larger crane to lift the section of the turbines into place, which the contractor expects to be on Monday, so expect heavy convoys on the roads.

Cranes in place for the turbine
Cranes in place for the turbine
The contractors were not overly keen to engage with us in dialogue, but we did manage to have a small chat, it was kept light, non-political and friendly, as they are only doing a job, but they did mention that they were having some difficulty, as the ground was softer than what they are used to on other wind farm developments, so it was causing some delay. They also mentioned that pressure to complete the project meant they were being asked to raise the structures at a faster speed than what the crane is certified to handle.

The crane contractors have a right to be concerned, as there have been numerous reported wind farm crane accidents reported which has resulted in the destruction of their equipment, and in some cases death of workers.

As we left the site, we were treated to the rapid darkening of the sky, and looking towards where the crane is sitting, the clouds began to droop heavily, in what looked like the early formation of a tornado. As the skies became darker and heavier, the wind began to whip up, with the dreariness and bleakness giving an ominous and apocalyptic feel, at which point the Community Councillor joked, that the only thing missing from the scene is a person holding a placard that has the words; ‘The End Is Nigh!’.

The End Is Nigh!
The End Is Nigh!
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16 Comments

  1. lone_piper

    August 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

    My home is located directly in line with one of the turbines. With the massive amounts of lighting used at moss morran, when the turbines are facing north I can’t help thinking a strobe lighting effect will occur.

    I’ve noticed that another turbine will be directly in front of the flaring stack. No one seems to have investigated the possibility of a increased risk of strobe effect when moss morran is flaring.

    Try it your self…place a torch or light behind a cooling fan as you can see the light appears to flicker. Can you imagine this 100’s of times more brighter with the lighting and flaring pollution we already have to endure?

    http://bit.ly/PeZk70. This video gives you a example of what can happen.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 26, 2012 at 11:05 am

      We have approached the developer about shadow flicker in the evenings when Mossmorran is flaring, and all they said was that the angle of the blades can be tilted to prevent this, which is very misleading as the angle tilt will not be enough to prevent the flicker event, that is perfectly highlighted in the video that you linked.

      When the turbines are operational, we will be campaigning to hold Fife Council and the developers accountable for any negative impacts, including shadow flicker in the day time, and during flaring events in the evening.

      I doubt the turbines will be removed, but we may get their operations stopped during flaring events. Our volunteers are dreading the wind farm, and we personally know a few residents in the South Street area who are dreading the wind farm, and some of those residents are already distressed, with all the construction work, and how it is going to change (and already has changed) their enjoyment of their homes, gardens and surrounding area.

      Reply

  2. Lochgellian

    August 26, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I also live in direct line with one of the turbines, a few nights ago when Mossmorran was flaring in the early hours of the morn, I could read a book with the light of the flaring in my room! Now it looks like I’m going to have to endure flickering from the turbines as well! Are we being punished? Shame on the ‘powers that be’ for dumping all this industrialisation in our countryside, and we suffer as a consequence! When the developers were asked about flickering and the effects it would have on people and also those who suffer from epilepsy, they just shrugged their shoulders and said they could tilt the blades when the flaring was scheduled…no answer at all then! Apart from the Little Raith wind farm, there are hundreds more in the planning, it’s crazy and will ruin our country as well as harm the people and the wildlife.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

      From our research, it does appear that the rush for wind farms is more about meeting EU targets and not providing a reliable alternative source of energy, or protection of the environment.

      With regards to your dumping statement, there is a few people in the Lochgelly area that do see Lochgelly as a dumping ground for developments that no-one else wants.

      We do try to remain positive about the town as we feel Lochgelly has got great potential, and certainly has a strong community, but it is hard, when local efforts to improve the town is negated by dumping controversial developments, like Mossmorran and Little Raith Wind Farm on the doorsteps of the community.

      Reply

  3. Peter Adams (@kirkcaldyukip)

    August 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    “one question that we asked, stopped the developer and the political lobbyists in their tracks, when we asked if any of them live near wind turbines. This managed to silence the room for a few seconds, before the representative from Invicta PA, sheepishly replied that they lived in the centre of a town, so no”.
    Apart from some farmers no one connected to the Wind Turbine Industry seems to live anywhere near them. That is why most urban dwellers when surveyed are relatively happy for wind turbines to be put up as it will mostly not happen near them. They have been conned for years into believing these Wind Turbines are necessary to “Save the Planet”. Rural communities are being torn apart by the use of so called “Community Benefits” based on bribes paid for by the developers subsidies via the hike in electricity prices which is robbing the poor and pushing even more in to fuel poverty.
    As lochgelly says in #4 the rush to wind farms being to meet EU targets, but our Westminster Government set higher and quicker targets than the EU set and Alex Salmond wanted to show he could do it even quicker with a higher target when he sent his 100% from renewables by 2020.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 30, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Thank you for posting and clearly summing up some of the issues. Glad to know there is some politicians making a clear stand against turbines.

      Reply

  4. Maria

    August 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Saddened to hear about the destruction of the buzzards usual nesting area, so much for them being a protected species. This is typical of wind farm developers, they really don’t seem to care a jot about the destruction of wildlife habitat, or even of the local people who end up having to live with these monstrocities towering over their towns and villages. Mind you, this was the same crowd who ‘accidently’ knocked down half the Ruins even though it was a proctected building. As for the bats, the original surveys of the area conviently left them out of the survey knowing that they are also a protected species, and it is well-known that the turbines kill them in their masses. There is a Rookery down at the Black Woods, wonder how they will fare? The more research I do regarding industrial wind farms, the more I see how much of a farce all this is, they are useless, mega-expensive, carbon intensive in their production, they create fuel-poverty (how many cold-related deaths does it take?) Look past the scam and see who’s making the money! For those who want to research further: http://www.wind-watch.org/

    Reply

  5. Lochgellian

    August 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I have spent the day watching the building of the first turbine go up, it is horrendous! You don’t really realise the full size of them until they are built, they are absolutely huge! It is really distressing to see them and realise that there are going to be nine of them, some even closer than the one going up today. It is a crying shame that we are having to endure these monsters in our area, they are a total eyesore and should never be built within a community of small towns and villages. I will have to move into another room as I cannot bear to lie in my bed and see these giant towers every night. There is a long list of negatives associated with windfarms and I’m sure it will be one day viewed as the sham of the century, but no matter how long the list of negatives, the visual impact is distressing and horrendous! I personally hope that one day the people who have allowed this attack on these small communities will be brought to task, shame on the lot of you! You may think my reaction is too strong, but I have watched the destruction happen over the last few months and I have the burden now of looking out upon them every day. I also know they are flawed technology and they are being erected for political and material gain. Its a bitter pill to swallow.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 30, 2012 at 8:53 am

      We did the scale charts and knew they would be big, but watching the first turbine go up yesterday, we were absolutely shocked at how large the turbines will be. No amount of preparation and visualisation of the structures prepared us for the actual size of the turbines. These will dominate the landscape, no doubt about it.

      Reply

  6. alice mckay barnett

    August 30, 2012 at 2:11 am

    we r fighting with all our might ty for posting

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 30, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Thank you for posting your comment and letting us know that others are fighting this development, if we can provide any help and support please contact us

      Reply

  7. mam

    August 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Just had a guy from BanksGroup at the door. They are proposing 5 large wind turbines going up at Hilton Farm/Lumphinans farm and gauging opinion. Anyone else aware of this? The whole place will soon be one big wind farm!

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Hi, they submitted an application in 2010 for 6 turbines, but have been reporting in the local press that they only want 4 turbines, now they are going door to door saying 5 turbines. Not very trustworthy in my opinion. An application has been submitted for a met mast that has received some objections, The application is still pending. We have heard that a Community Councillor has claimed to have seen the final plans which was for 14 turbines. However many they apply for, we have witnessed time and time again, that once initial planning has been approved, the developer will resubmit revised plans for more turbines or larger turbines, or both.

      If you go to: http://lochgelly.org.uk/2012/02/industrial-wind-farm-for-kelty-cowdenbeath-lumphinnans-and-lochgelly/, you will find a map for the development site, and links to both planning applications on the Fife Council site.

      Reply

  8. Geoff Comber

    September 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Not just fauna but maybe in the long term flora as well. Honey producers in Crete have discovered that bees don’t like to go near the windfarms and can become disorientated by the noise. No bees equals no pollination of a lot of plants equals eventual loss of ecology in the area.

    Reply

  9. Lochgelly Resident

    September 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I’ve also read some articles about bee’s being affected by wind farms. Seems like its beginning to be taken seriously and studies are being conducted to check it out. http://www.bio3.pt/en/press-and-media/news/Bees-and-Wind-Farms-Is-there-any-relation/78
    I’m also really concerned for the wildlife down at the Loch, and what about the Rookery in the Black Woods, its a real shame whats happening.

    Reply

  10. Alisdair McKay

    September 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    The last posting is in Sept 2012. I’d be very interested to hear what people think now in September 2016. It seems that an opportunity was missed with a couple of turbines able to supply a small town, each town should have had it’s own with the power fed as a cheap supply into the locality first and the balance sold or bought form the grid as necessary.

    Reply

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