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Boost for University wind farm plan

A plan to develop a wind farm at Kenly near St Andrews has received an important boost from a survey of people living in the communities of Kingsbarns, Boarhills and Dunino.

Over 46% of people who took part in the survey said they were either supportive or strongly supportive of proposals by the University of St Andrews to develop a wind farm on land it owns at Kenly Farm, by Boarhills.

The University has been developing proposals for a wind farm at Kenly since 2007 and is presently consulting local communities about the plans and the potential for community benefit should the development proceed.

It is currently looking at options for a development comprising either four or six turbines on land it owns at Kenly, site of a former Second World War air base.

Two public meetings were held in late June 2010 at Kingsbarns and Boarhills. People attending the meetings were asked to complete questionnaires. The survey was carried out by Rhona McLaren, a postgraduate student in Sustainable Development.

The survey forms part of her thesis in assessing public attitudes to wind developments and is an independent academic exercise.

A total of 65 people in Kingsbarns and Boarhills and Dunino took part in the survey.

The survey found:

  • Over 46% of people were either supportive or strongly supportive of the planned wind farm.
  • 48% thought that Kenly was an acceptable location for a wind farm.
  • Approximately 36% were unsupportive or strongly unsupportive.
  • Approximately 12% were neither supportive nor resistant.
  • 60% believed a community benefit scheme was a good idea.
  • 86% were in favour of Scotland’s increasing use of renewable energy technologies.

The University has welcomed the findings and pledged to continue consultations and to answer the points and requests made by local residents who attended the meetings. It has promised to write to all local residents with an update on progress later this year.

“We are very grateful to everyone who took the time to come along to the consultation meetings and to complete the survey,” said Derek Watson, Quaestor and Factor.

“These early findings are important and significant for a number of reasons, but not least because established research shows that at this stage in a consultative process you should expect opposition to the development to be at its highest point.

“However, the survey reveals that 60% are not opposed to our plans with almost half being supportive or strongly supportive.

“I believe this is indicative of the far-sighted views of many people in these communities. It also proves the value of allowing everyone to have a voice, not just those who shout the loudest.”

The University will now carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment of the wind farm proposals and will also take time to answer many of the questions raised by members of the public who attended the Kingsbarns and Boarhills meetings.

These covered issues of noise, visual impact, property prices and health.

“A great many valid, insightful and helpful questions were asked of us and we know we have much more work to do to provide full and satisfactory answers,” continued Mr Watson.

“We will be updating the community as soon as possible.”

The full results of the survey have been published online at www.st-andrews.ac.uk/about/Sustainability/Windfarm

More information : Niall Scott, Corporate Communications, tel 01334 462244, mobile 07711 223062, email niall.scott@st-andrews.ac.uk

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