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Blowing cash in the wind

For every windfarm application submitted in the Borders it’s costing council tax payers around £15,000.

The Peeblesshire News can reveal the startling cost of the planning process.

And it is backing local councillors who are demanding a review.

Over the past few years Tweeddale and neighbouring areas have become targets for major windfarm firms.

For each application which goes to the public enquiry stage it is costing Scottish Borders Council in excess of £30,000 – yet the developers only have to hand over a maximum of £15,950 for each submission.

The Peeblesshire News is led to believe that nine Borders applications have resulted in public inquiries over the last three years.

With Scottish Ministers overturning many of local authority’s decision.

Tweeddale councillor Gavin Logan wants windfarm developers to foot the bill.

He said: “The situation at present is totally unfair. The cost of opposing these windfarm developers is crippling at the moment for the council.

“It wholly ridiculous that SNP ministers continuously land Borders taxpayers with these bills when all SBC and the councillors are doing is representing the views of the majority of local residents.

“This equates to basically a subsidy for the developer.”

In 2010 SBC received: One section 36 application, over 50 MW, at Rowantree plus 36 applications for wind turbines of varying scales all under 5MW generating capacity. A total of 22 were approved.

The local authority also received Proposal of Application Notices for major applications in 2010 for Blackburn Farm, Grantshouse, Brunta Hill, Lauder and Corsbie Moor, Gordon.

A council spokesman said: “There are no official figures for the cost of administering these applications but an outline calculation is that if an application goes to Public Inquiry then our costs can be well in excess of £30,000.”