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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 00:43 GMT
Inquiry examines wind farm plan
Wind turbines
Villagers say the wind farm site is too close to houses
A public inquiry is to begin into a plan for a five-turbine wind farm near Auchtermuchty in Fife.

Developer EnergieKontor prompted the inquiry after Fife Council failed to make a decision nine months after the application was submitted.

The hearing, at Victoria Hall in the village, is due to last six days.

Local people have said the site, which is about half a mile north-east of the village, is too close and would cause a significant noise nuisance.

They have appointed their own QC and a noise consultant to represent them at the meeting.

Graeme Whyte, from the Auchtermuchty Landscape and Environment group, told the BBC Scotland news website: "We feel we've got a good case because of the location. It would be one of the largest wind farms to be built near houses."

'Out of character'

Fife Council is objecting to the development because of noise and will also express concern about shadow flicker.

Local councillor Donald Lothian will also argue at the hearing that the turbines will spoil the look of the area.

He said: "The proposed wind farm is of a scale and character which is completely out of character with the landscape of Auchtermuchty."

EnergieKontor has insisted that noise would not be a problem and that similar generators already operate in populated areas, such as the Michelin factory in Dundee.

UK Manager Judith Cornfield said: "We did a thorough search of the whole of Fife and we only identified two sites [for wind farms] out of the whole search.

"The only recommendation in respect to distance refers to much larger wind farms."

In the application document, the company said the wind farm would generate enough electricity for almost 5,000 homes.

It would take about six months to build and would remain in operation for about 25 years.

Villagers have been urged to show their objection to the development by attending the inquiry.

If it is given the go ahead, the application would be the first in Fife to be given full planning consent.

A site near Lochgelly has been approved by the local authority but has still to be considered by the Scottish Government.

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