An amended application for eight wind turbines at Broadmeadows has escaped a Ministry of Defence ban on wind turbines within 31 miles of the UK’s only nuclear test monitoring station.
In a letter to Scottish Borders Council last Friday, the Whitehall department said it would not oppose the proposal by Greenpower, whose original plan submitted in 2004 included 13 turbines.
The MoD ban meant two single-turbine applications near Selkirk were turned down this year.
The MoD claimed the noise budget around Eskdalemuir monitoring station had been reached, and if it were breached the UK would be unable to fulfil its obligation to monitor worldwide underground nuclear testing.
But a spokesperson for Defence Estates – the MoD’s land and property organisation – told the Wee Paper this week: “Broadmeadows has been in the planning system since 2005 and had already been allocated part of the Eskdalemuir budget for 13 turbines.
“In October 2010, an amendment to the original planning application was received reducing the size of the development from 13 turbines to eight.
“As such, Broadmeadows now only has enough budget allocated to accommodate the eight turbines. The budget originally assigned to this proposal back in 2005 has now been lost.”
Craig Potter of Greenpower said: “We are pleased the MoD have not opposed our application.
“We understand the approach they have taken. There were a variety of reasons why we amended the application, such as consultations with the council, but the MoD’s stance was not one of them.”
Mr Potter said Greenpower’s two public exhibitions this week, in Caddonfoot and Yarrowford, had been attended by about 100 people and had gone “very well”.
“Obviously some people left the exhibition still against the development but others liked what they heard about the changes we have made,” he added.
Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council secretary Dr Alison Maguire said the lack of MoD opposition was “worrying”.
“They have reduced the number of turbines but that makes no difference to us due to their location” she said.
“The turbines would still be seen as they are right at the top of the Yarrow Valley, and are near Yarrowford and Bowhill.”
Dr Maguire was also concerned by the MoD’s requirement that 25 red lights should be fitted to each turbine, if the application is successful, in the interests of air safety.
She said: “The valleys have very dark skies so the lit-up turbines would have a massive effect on the area.
“This is an area of outstanding beauty and we have to protect our natural heritage.”
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