Tuesday, 20 March 2012

And on that note...

Mr Trump also threw his weight behind 11 groups from across Fife who have jointly written to the Chief Executive of Fife Council to complain about the threat the Kingdom is currently under from the plethora of applications right across the Kingdom, and the way in which these applications are being dealt with. The Trump organisation  stated that these groups were doing 'absolutely the right thing' by banding together against proposals that had the potential to 'destroy' coast and countryside in Fife and beyond. The text of this letter to Fife Council is re-produced below. (Names/addresses have been removed.)

Mr R Hinds
Chief Executive
Fife Council
Fife House
KY7 5LT                                                                                 15TH March 2012                                                                           

Dear Mr Hinds,

Wind Farm and wind turbine application assessments by Fife Council

The contents of this letter reflect the views of the following Fife wide organisations.

Protect Rural East Fife (PREF)
Clatto Landscape Protection Group (CLPG)
Auchtermuchty Landscape and Environment Group (ALE)
Ceres and District Environment and Amenity Protection Group (CADEAP)
Protect Largoward Environment and Amenity Group (PLEA)
Kenly Landscape Protection Group (KLPG)
Save Carnbee and Arncroach Landscape and Environment (SCALE)
Stop Proliferations of Turbines (SPOT) Fife
Stop Turbines at Cameron Kinaldy (STACK)
West Fife Community Council Forum
Lochgelly - Loch of Shining Waters Forum

We do not believe that planning reports prepared for Area Committees considering wind turbine planning applications are properly assessing applications against National Policy, the Fife Development Plan, Fife Council Supplementary Planning Guidance, The Fife Landscape Character Assessment and advice from Scottish Natural Heritage.  We do not consider that assessment of visual amenity is sufficiently objective and relies entirely, in a non interrogative way, on the submissions of the applicant and 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 groups have considered the planning reports and associated complaints submitted to the Council with respect to the determined application at Earlseat and the pending applications at Clatto Hill and Devon Wood. We fully support the terms of those complaints. They demonstrate the principal grounds for our concerns.

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.

With respect we believe the Planning Service needs to act urgently and decisively to address the concerns we are raising.

Yours sincerely

We'll publish the response when it arrives... 

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