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Airtricity to lodge wind farm appeal with Scottish Executive

Airtricity announced yesterday it had lodged a formal appeal to the Scottish Executive against the rebuff from Scottish Borders Council’s development control committee.

That body voted 7-4 – against the advice of its own planning officials, but faced with 370 objections – to throw out the Langhope Rig scheme, which would have generated enough electricity for nearly 13,000 homes and been linked to the National Grid at Hawick.

Speaking to The Wee Paper this week, Alan Baker, chief executive of Airtricity in Scotland, said: “Airtricity was naturally extremely disappointed at the recent decision to reject our proposal.

“Both before and after submitting the application we consulted the local community and chose to proceed with this site precisely because of its limited visibility in the Borders area and, following extensive consultation, we received no objections from statutory consultees such as Scottish Natural Heritage and the council’s landscape officer. Officials also recommended approval.”

Role for Borders as climate changes

Mr Baker went on: “National government policy has
been developed to tackle climate change and encourage renewable energy development at suitable locations. As a result of this appeal, the specifics of our application will be addressed, including rational consideration of some frequently-raised objections such as its impact on tourism.

“Climate change is happening and all of Scotland, including the Borders, has a role to play in combating it. Langhope Rig windfarm would make a considerable impact on Scotland’s renewable targets and contribute significantly to the local and national economy, not least in generating green electricity for around 12,860 homes.”

The company currently has 13 windfarms in operation throughout Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the USA.

Its two Scots facilities are at Ardrossan, Ayrshire, and Braes of Doune near Stirling.

It has almost 400 employees and a turnover of £120million.

By Andrew Keddie

Selkirk Weekend Advertiser

10 August 2007