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D-day looms for Earlshaugh

Plans for a huge windfarm near the Devil’s Beef Tub will go before councillors on Monday.

Developer Wind Energy had originally planned to build 36 turbines on the site near Tweedsmuir in 2008, but this was rejected by Scottish Borders Council.

And they came back with a revised bid of 24 turbines for the Earlshaugh site, which is nestled in one of the most scenic areas of southern Scotland.

The site, close to the well-known landmark, is within a designated area of great landscape value and is also covered by the River Tweed special area of conservation.

In their report to planning committee members ahead of Monday’s meeting at Council headquarters, council planners have sided with local campaigners and MP David Mundell to recommend refusal on the grounds that the 24 turbines and associated equipment would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the landscape character of the surrounding area.

However the local authority are not the ultimate decision-maker because the output of the wind farm will be more than 50MW. This decision will instead be made by the Energy and Climate Change Directorate of the Scottish Government.

MP David Mundell earlier told the Peeblesshire News how he felt the reduced application to still be unacceptable and how it would ruin the landscape.

He said: “I was sorry to see this application resubmitted – I share the view frequently expressed to me by constituents that this is an entirely inappropriate location for a wind farm development given the important scenic and historic nature of the Devil’s Beeftub.

“The proposed development would change the visual setting of the Beeftub which is a stunning natural feature of huge importance to Moffat’s vital tourist trade, especially in attracting walkers. It is also too close, in my view, to the important landscape which is the source of the River Tweed.

“I hope that the authorities take the objections of local people into account when considering this application and that we don’t see yet another huge development in our area.”

The Devil’s Beef Tub is a 500 feet deep hollow in the hills whose name derives from its use by the Border Reivers to hide stolen cattle.