Locals say they will fight Kenly wind farm power line proposal

April 22 2016, 8.42amUpdated: April 21 2016, 1.19pm
© DC ThomsonThe wind farm would help the university to meet its ambitious renewable targets.
The wind farm would help the university to meet its ambitious renewable targets.

Anger and fear has been sparked among residents who have learned that a high voltage cable may be laid just feet from their homes.

St Andrews University wants to lay the power line between the wind farm it hopes to build at Kenly and its campus at North Haugh.

However, it is claimed those living along the 10-mile circuitous route through Stravithie, Lathockar and along the A915 Largo Road into St Andrews were not informed.

An extraordinary general meeting has been called by Cameron Community Council to discuss the university’s planning application which, if approved, would lead to temporary road closures and traffic disruption.

Chairman Gordon Ball said: “It beggars belief that the university has spoken to no one locally about its plans before making this application.

“Residents are worried sick about the risks of an 11,000 volt cable passing within a few feet of children’s bedrooms.

“The university says construction will take four to six months and local farmers and businesses whose livelihoods depend on road access to their operations area understandably fearful.”

He added: “No one understands why the university has picked this route, where the roads and verges are often narrow, abutted by drainage ditches and significant vegetation, including the magnificent and protected beech avenue at Stravithie, which may well suffer fatal damage.”

Kenly Landscape Protection Group, which is against construction of the six 328-ft high turbines near Boarhill, accused the university of being high-handed again.

Spokesman Graham Lang said: “Now it’s chosen an utterly irrational and environmentally irresponsible route to connect to the grid, creating maximum stress and upheaval for local residents, businesses and road-users.

“Why on earth didn’t it take a direct and much less used route along the A917 or B9131 or better still across fields?”

The work would involve temporary excavations along the route, which the university said was chosen as the cable could be laid in verges and it would cause less disruption than other routes.

However, it remains uncertain whether the wind farm will even be built, as a radar mitigation scheme is yet to be agreed with the Ministry of Defence.

A university spokesperson said: “We remain fully committed to this important project which, if it is cleared to go ahead, will protect hundreds of jobs in North East Fife and help cut carbon emissions.

“At present, however, we’ve yet to agree a radar mitigation solution with the MoD and as long as that remains the case, we don’t believe it would be fair to waste people’s time consulting or engaging in detail on a project which we can’t yet confirm will go ahead.

“If or when we reach agreement with the MOD, we will be engaging fully with local communities and businesses.”

The spokesman said recent community consultation over the road closure associated with its green energy centre in Guardbridge was praised by residents and councillors and added: “We’ll be applying the same standards of openness to our engagement on Kenly if or when we know that the project is definitely proceeding.”

The Cameron meeting will be held in Cameron Village Hall next Wednesday at 6.30pm.

Comments

Editors' Picks

Breaking:

    Cancel

    Sign up for our newsletter

    Fill in the form to sign up for the Courier newsletter

    Thank you. You have been successfully subscribed to our newsletter.

    Close