A decision to allow for a windfarm to be built on some of the most-walked parts of the Borders countryside is likely to be made early next year.
Vattenfall Wind Power Limited wants to erect 12 turbines on Minch Moor, which sits between the Yarrow and Tweed valleys.
Initial plans for the windfarm, which attracted strong objections from communities in both valleys, were thrown out by Scottish Borders Council in the summer.
But an appeal to the Scottish Government, lodged at the start of November, could see the decision reversed.
Government case worker Graeme Mason has accepted lengthy statements and data from Hexham-based Vattenfall to support the appeal.
But his office has also received 18 objection letters and a further nine written submissions from protesters.
Joyce Durham from Traquair is encouraging the soon-to-be-appointed Reporter to carry out a site visit. She said: “I should like to add to my previous representations against the above development, a request that the reporter appointed to decide this case, actually climbs to the top of Minch Moor.
“He or she will then see the beauty of our Borders landscape and realise how inappropriate and detrimental this development would be if it were allowed to go ahead.”
John Henderson from Melrose-based Walking Support believes the windfarm would also be detrimental to the enjoyment of anyone hiking on the nearby Southern Upland Way.
He said: “The Southern Upland Way is an important recreational facility, both for attracting economic activity and for locals to enjoy the countryside.
“The section from Traquair to Yair is one of the best sections of this whole route and to have yet further wind turbines on or very close to the route will have a devastating impact on walkers.”
The evidence will be presented to an allocated Reporter in the coming weeks – and it will be their call whether to carry out a site inspection or hold a public hearing before a final decision is made.
Selkirk historian Frank Harkness is amongst the objectors. He said: “With its beauty and history it is no surprise that the Yarrow Valley hosts a stretch of the Southern Upland way.
“People who enjoy the long distance walk as well as those who just take a walk across the Minch Moor are there to enjoy the sense of wilderness and remote beauty you get there.
“I regularly walk across the Minchmoor road from Selkirk to Traquair and frequently hear comments by people from all over Scotland and many parts of the world who remark on its unique views and sense of wilderness.”
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