Fears are growing that one of the region’s top tourist towns will be blighted by a massive electrical sub station and overhead cables.
ScottishPower is planning to develop the substation, a connection for their Harestanes windfarm and the national grid, over 13 hectares at Bearholm, Moffat.
There is also concern it will connect with Wind Energy’s proposed 36-turbine Earlshaugh windfarm on top of the Devil’s Beeftub, which is expected to go for planning permission in the new year.
ScottishPower is also planning to put up 15 kilometres of overhead line, passing above the town’s Golf Hill to the substation.
Local councillors and Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell met ScottishPower this week.
The company says it now intends to hold a meeting, in conjunction with Wind Energy, in the town in December.
So far, the company has held a public information day in Tweedsmuir but nothing in Moffat.
Annandale North councillors Roger Grant and Gail Macgregor say it is important that people know what is planned.
Mr Mundell said he had already been lobbied by people worried about the size of the substation.
He said: “I think many local people are unaware of the scale of this project; which is one of the consequences of large scale windfarm developments. To me, it represents further industrialisation of the countryside and whilst clearly this substation will have to be build somewhere I am not convinced that the Bearholm site is the right one.
“The site will be particularly visible from the Wamphray to Moffat road and from other elevated positions around the town. It will be impossible to hide a site of this size and whilst ScottishPower is proposing environmental works it cannot hope to disguise the presence of this facility.’’
He is calling on planners to ask ScottishPower to think again over their choice of location.
Plans for the sub station are expected to be lodged early in the new year when they will be up for consultation.
By Sharon Liptrott
23 November 2007
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