Proposals for a community-owned wind farm on Selkirk’s Common Good land have been given the green light to progress to the next stage.
Around 100 people attended a public meeting in the Victoria Halls last week and voted in favour of commissioning a feasibility study at an estimated cost of £10,000.
However, the issue has split Selkirk Regeneration Group (SRG) and caused heated debate, with many fearing the presence of wind turbines on the North or South Common would have a devastating impact on both the local community and tourism in the area.
Community Council chairman Lindsay Neil, who has steered plans for the wind farm from an early stage, is convener of SRG.
He said: “Obviously, there are those who are strongly opposed to the plans, but some people are keen to see Selkirk regenerated. Others are still on the fence and asking for more information, which is a rational view to take. We do still need to know more.
“I understand people’s concerns and the bottom line is, if we can’t do it, we won’t waste time on it.
“But there are a number of unquantifiables at this stage and it’s important for everyone to see what it would look like, which is why we need a feasibility study carried out.”
However, the secretary of the regeneration group, Peter Field, said supporters of the plans were jumping the gun.
“We’re being presented with a solution when we’re not sure what the question is,” he told The Wee Paper this week.
“Wouldn’t it have been sensible to have defined in advance what we’re trying to achieve?
“At the meeting, when it was asked what was going to be done with the money generated, there was a stony silence.
“From a personal point of view, I’m not against wind farms or renewable energy and I recognise it’s important to make practical use of the Common Good Land, but I’m concerned about the visual impact and the effect a wind farm would have on the community and on tourism in Selkirk.”
Mr Field also said there was still uncertainty about what was actually being proposed
“A lot of people appear not to mind one way or the other and that’s probably because they don’t know enough yet,” he continued.
“I don’t think we need to spend £10,000 to provide enough information for the community to decide whether to go for it or not. A feasibility study would be more relevant once it had been decided that it’s what we want for Selkirk.
“We’re really jumping the gun. A consensus for wind turbines is not yet clear.”
24 August 2007
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