Monday, 27 February 2012

Objections to South Baldutho Turbines

Those of you familiar with SCALE will know that we are following the progress of several turbine applications in the immediate area. There are many going through the Fife Council planning system at the moment, including Belliston Quarry, North Cassingray, North Baldutho Farm, Pittarthie Farm, Drumrack Farm and of course, the application for five giant turbines at Lingo. By far the most urgent however is the application for two 150ft turbines at South Baldutho Farm.

These turbines will stand right on top of the coastal ridge between Belliston Quarry (where there is currently a mast for another application,) and Kellie Law. Their height means they will be visible above both of these landscape features, and will clearly be seen from the villages of Arncroach and Abercromby below through to the coast and Pittenweem, St Monan's and Elie. They will also be seen in Carnbee, Lathones and Largoward - in fact their prominence means they will be seen from afar in just about all directions.

These two turbines will present a significant threat to the local residents living nearby, in terms of noise and visual disruption, adversely affecting their lives and businesses. Many locals depend on the tourist industry to provide primary and much needed secondary incomes, and yet the evidence is showing that those with money to spend will simply holiday in areas that are turbine free. And those wishing or needing to sell their properties may find it harder to do. Local estate agents think that even the fact that large turbines may be erected within view of a property makes it harder to sell. Owners may find themselves having to reduce the asking price, by between 10 & 40% in order to make the sale.

The threat that these turbines present to the many birds that nest and fly in this area, including Pink-Footed Gees and Peregrine Falcons (both protected species) is immense. Right next door to the site is Gillingshill Nature Reserve and Reservoir, where many migrating birds come to get fresh water. Even the developer of this proposal has suggested that there might be times of the year when they would have to turn them off in order to protect the birds. The reality is that they simply shouldn't be there at all. The rate of bird deaths recorded in areas where turbines have been longer established is now much higher than originally anticipated, and new evidence is emerging that turbines may be the cause of the recent dramatic demise in bee populations as well. The environmental damage that they cause is immense.

There are many reasons why the applications for these two turbines should be refused; if they succeed then the whole of the coastal ridge may end up being covered in turbines. Your help is now needed to stop these truly invasive developments.

Please join us by submitting an objection to Fife Council to help stop this application and save the landscape and environment for those that live in it and care about its future. A sample letter of objection is below; all that is required is for you to copy it to your word processing programme, fill in your name and address, sign it and send it in. The address to send it to is at the top of the letter.

This is now URGENT as Fife Council will be considering this application in the next few weeks, so please send in your letters as soon as possible. 

Thank you for your help.

Enterprise & Protective Services 
Fife Council
Forth House
Abotshall Road
Kirkcaldy, KY1 1RU

Dear Sirs,

Re: Installation of two Wind Turbines (50kW at 46m, and 100kW at 47.5m) at South Baldutho Farm, Nr Arncraoch, Fife, KY10 2RX

Planning References:-  11/04749/Full & 11/04748/Full

I strongly object to the application for two turbines up to 47.5ms to blade tip at South Baldutho Farm for the following reasons:

1.  Landscape Impact - the two turbines would be prominent features in an open landscape and out of scale with established local features. They would change and dominate the landscape. The landscape type is ‘Pronounced Volcanic Hills and Crags.’ The relevant landscape guidance for this type of landscape is as follows:
‘Restrict the development of all tall structures to those absolutely essential for operational reasons and avoid new installation of masts, wind turbine generators or other tall or industrial like structures on all the distinctive, recognizable and prominent hill tops, peaks, and skylines.’
2. Visual Amenity - they would have an overbearing presence for nearby households and be conspicuous to residents of the nearby village of Arncroach and the East Neuk villages. The visual impact on residents, visitors and road users passing through would be adverse.
3.   Environmental – there are a large number of protected species of bird that live and migrate through the area. I believe that these turbines will have a very detrimental impact on these species.
4.   Residential Amenity – there are several residential properties nearby, including the listed property at Gillingshill, which will experience a major loss of amenity due to the close proximity of these turbines to their properties. The potential impact of noise nuisance on these properties will be above acceptable levels, and they will have to endure this throughout the lifetime of the turbines, estimated at 25-30 years.
5.   Cumulative Impact - the two turbines are of different designs with a separation of 300 meters. I refer to paragraph 6.3.6 page 31 in Fife Council Supplementary Planning Guidance Wind Energy 2011.  In brief it recommends the use of similar design to reduce visual complexity and clutter. Irrespective of that taken together and with other turbines in the planning process within a 10km radius there would be a significant adverse cumulative visual impact.
The above are all contrary to following local policies:

Fife Structure Plan: Policy R1,
Largo and East Neuk Local Plan : Policy EV6 Areas of Great Landscape value
Finalised St Andrews East Fife Local Plan: Policy E19 Special Landscape Areas, &  Policy I1 Renewable Energy

The benefits of the small intermittent amount of renewable energy generated and the income stream provided to the developer and the landowner is clearly outweighed by the negative impacts on landscape and visual and residential amenity and the application should be recommended for refusal.

Yours faithfully,

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