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St Andrews University urged to bring Kenly windfarm doubt to an end

Campaigners Janice Furness, David Chalmers, Victoria Kilgour and Jack and Lesley Haines.
Campaigners Janice Furness, David Chalmers, Victoria Kilgour and Jack and Lesley Haines.

Campaigners have urged St Andrews University to ditch its windfarm project if it cannot establish soon how to prevent radar interference.

More than two years after the six 328ft turbines were permitted, the university is yet to agree measures with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to stop blades affecting radar at nearby Leuchars.

Councillors have refused a request to allow preparatory work such as construction of access roads to Kenly Farm to begin, through amendment of a condition requiring a radar mitigation scheme is approved first.

The university said discussions were continuing with the MoD to agree a scheme but has acknowledged the issue is a serious threat to the development near Kingsbarns.

John Goodwin, chairman of Kenly Landscape Protection Group, said: “Given the time the university has been ‘actively’ pursuing a radar mitigation solution, assuming one actually exists, the existing planning consent and conditions are more than adequate.

“If the university cannot achieve a radar solution by the time consent lapses in October, they should abandon the project.”

Fife Council’s north-east planning committee refused to amend the condition, against the advice of planning officers.

The university’s proposed change would still have required radar mitigation to be approved before turbines were built.

St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson said he feared extensive ground works could begin but the windfarm never built.

He said: “There’s a risk radar mitigation may not be approved and there is a lot of concern locally about the application.

“We then have potentially a scar on the landscape that has to be dealt with.”

The condition was one of a number imposed by a Scottish Government reporter as he granted planning permission, following an appeal against the council’s refusal.

A university spokesman said: “We will continue to work towards a radar solution and remain fully committed to this important project which will help us protect up to 120 Fife jobs.”

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