Opponents to an extension of Aikengall wind farm on the Lammermuirs claim that the only reason developers changed their plans from 30 turbines to 22 was to try and avoid a public inquiry.
The eight 125m high turbines that have been removed from the original plans were the only ones within the Scottish Borders Council area, the rest being in East Lothian, and when asked for their views about the first wind farm plans back in February this year Scottish Borders councillors objected.
SBC’s views were sought again this week, this time as a neighbouring authority, and councillors retained their position of opposing the development, despite recommendations from planning officials not to object, and councillors continue to press for a public inquiry.
A report by SBC planning officials told councillors: “There is an acceptance that previous development at Aikengall 1 and Crystal Rig has already changed the local landscape significantly.
“The locality is already characterised by wind farms and turbines and the increase in impact would be, on balance, within tolerable levels.”
Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus Community Council disagree with this view saying: “The community council objected to the initial proposal for 30 turbines at Wester Dod and welcomed Scottish Borders Council’s exceptional, robust objection to the proposal in February 2010 when they voted 10 to two to object on the grounds of: adverse impact on the Lammermuir Hill’s AGLV (Area of Great Landscape Value); harmful visual impact; unacceptable cumulative impacts; and the proposal is outwith the preferred areas of search.
“All these reasons remain as valid reasons to continue to object.”
The final decision on the Aikengall 11 windfarm will rest with Scottish Ministers because the output from the proposed windfarm would be above 50MW and the local councils were simply asked for their views on the proposal, although if those views were negative the likely outcome would be a public inquiry.
A scoping report is currently underway for a fourth extension (of between 9 and 18 turbines) to nearby Crystal Rig; the outcome of the second public inquiry into the 48 turbine windfarm proposed at Fallago Rig is awaited, and smaller windfarms in and around the Lammermuirs are at various stages within the planning process.
One of those is the wind farm at Brunta Hill Farm, west of Westruther, and public exhibitions showing the plans are scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday, September 17 and 18, (at Lauder Public Hall on Friday, September 17, from 4-8pm, and at Westruther Village Hall, on Saturday, September 18 from 10am-2pm).
PNE Wind UK Ltd will be submitting a planning application within the next six months for up to 11 turbines at the Brunta Hill windfarm on agricultural land at Flass Farm and Blythe Farm. The turbines will be up to 125m high and will contribute up to 25MW towards renewable energy generation.
After the public exhibitions PNE Wind UK will finalise the wind farm design, submit a planning application in early 2011 and hope to have a decision from Scottish Borders Council by the summer or autumn of 2011.
They will pay £2000 per MW of consented and installed capacity into a community development fund, estimating that it could result in up to £50,000 a year for local communities and over £1 million during the 25 year lifetime of the wind farm.
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