CADEAP was formed by a group of concerned residents in March 2006 in response to a notice of intention sent to neighbours and leaflets distributed by EnergieKontor (UK) Limited that they proposed to develop a wind farm of up to 13 turbines up to 85 metres to blade tip on land over which they had an agreement to develop.
The land was in the ownership of three farmers and comprised parts of Newbigging of Craighall Farm, South Callange Farm and Gathercauld Farm. The proposal was known as Gathercauld Wind Farm but was generally known as Ceres Wind Farm because of its proximity to the village.
CADEAP concerns centred on landscape and visual impact and impact on residential amenity. There were other issues. For instance it seemed obvious to us that turbines of the height proposed on the site proposed would have an impact on the Air Traffic Control at Leuchars and so it tuned out and the design of the wind farm was scaled back to try and address that.
A year later when the developer held their public exhibition the plan they proposed was for 5 turbines 80 metres to blade tip with one on South Callange and 4 on Newbigging of Craighall. This was part of their public consultation process which led to no changes in the proposal and could scarcely be considered consultation.
The application was lodged in May 2007. Radar was still an issue and Defence Estates objected and this resulted in turbine heights being altered again and the military withdrew their objection.
The application finally came to the North East Fife Area Planning Committee on 17th June 2009 two years after submission and we were disappointed that is was recommended for approval. The procedure in this situation is that one of the councillors has to propose a motion for refusal otherwise the officer’s recommendation would be accepted without a vote.
Local Ceres ward councillor Margaret Kennedy moved a motion for refusal and in her argued convincingly that the application was contrary to Development Plan policy and that it should be refused. Her motion moving refusal was seconded by Councillor Roger Guy. One councillor voted for the motion to approve but could not find a seconder so the application was refused.
CADEAP were prepared psychologically and financially for an appeal by EnergieKontor against refusal but in the event the statutory time (3 months) passed in which one could have been lodged and there was no appeal.
In preparing the group objection we relied on;
- James Lochhead MRTPI.
- National Planning Policy and the Fife Development Plan
The planning based objection was supported by the following work;
- Nigel Buchan MLI MLA BA. A critique of the Landscape and Visual Impact section of the Environmental Statement (ES)
- Dick Bowdler. Undertook a review and assessment of the Noise chapter in the ES
- Professor John McManus PhD DSc FRSE C.Geol prepared a review of the site geological conditions.
- John Campbell QC gave us advice as required
- members of CADEAP reviewed other matters in the ES.
The application was recommended for approval by the Planning Service. The application was unanimously refused by the North East Fife Area Committee.