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Special areas of Borders to be protected from ‘inappropriate development’

Anti-windfarm campaigners have welcomed plans which it says will keep the Borders looking beautiful.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee this week supported a proposal to create nine new Special Landscape Areas (SLAs) in the region. They include the new area of Tweed, Ettrick and Yarrow Confluences.

It follows a review of the designated areas of great landscape value which were first drawn up half a century ago to protect the local countryside from “inappropriate development”. It was claimed they had become outdated.

David Walmsley, chairman of the Minto Hills Conservation Group, said: ‘We believe the planning staff at SBC should be congratulated for listening to local people’s views. They have managed to strike the difficult balance between the many competing interests in the countryside and identify those areas which, although they must evolve and change over time if rural communities are to thrive, need extra protection from inappropriate development.

“Our stunning countryside and vast uninterrupted views are the mainstay of the Scottish Borders’ tourism industry which accounts for nearly one in 10 jobs. But talk to almost anyone – whether their families have lived here for generations or they are incomers, whether they are regular or occasional visitors – just why they like living, working or visiting the Borders, and most will mention our fabulous scenery.

“The new SLAs will help to ensure that the legacy we leave our children – and our children’s children – is one that will encourage them, too, to live, work and visit this very special part of the world.”

The report confirms previous AGLVs at Pentlands, Lammermuirs, Berwickshire Coast, Cheviots, Eildons and Tweedsmuir. It also adds three additional areas at Tweed Valley, Teviot Valleys and Tweed Lowlands.

A council spokesperson said: “The revised report has been agreed by the Planning and Building Standards Committee, and will now be used as a material consideration in the planning application process.”