August 26, 2012

Turbines threat to Carter Bar view

The Southern Reporter | 26 August 2012

Protestors campaigning against plans for a wind farm at Cummings Hill, four miles south of Jedburgh, say one of the Borders’ most iconic views is still under threat despite a reduction in the number of turbines planned, writes Mark Entwistle.

The Chesters Wind Farm Action Group was formed a year ago after a meeting of around 20 residents from the Southdean/Chesters area of Roxburghshire.

Its members have vowed to fight proposals by a renewable energy company, Infinis Wind Holdings Ltd, for the turbines which would be 100m high from base to tip.

Infinis originally wanted permission for 13 turbines, but has now reduced the planned number to 10.

An application for full planning consent was due to be lodged this summer, but the company is still in the scoping stage of the process.

Philip Kerr, action group chairman, says even with a reduction of three turbines, the view from the Carter Bar would still be affected if the scheme goes ahead.

“The view from the Carter Bar is still under threat from this proposed wind farm,” he told TheSouthern this week.

“There’s nowhere they can put them on this site that won’t be visible from the Carter Bar.”

And Mr Kerr says he believes Infinis will not now be lodging its planning application until April.

Mr Kerr and his fellow protestors want the scheme halted, not least because the site falls within the new Teviot Valleys special landscape area (SLA).

The Teviot Valleys were identified by consultants as one of eight areas of the Borders which should have NSA status: a nationally recognised standard that precludes “inappropriate development” and replaces areas of great landscape value (AGLV).

Cummings Hill lies within the proposed NSA, which covers sections of the Teviot, Rule and Jed valleys between Hawick and Jedburgh and includes the visually prominent Dunion Hill.

A spokesman for Infinis this week confirmed that it was 10 turbines which were now proposed.

“ Yes, we are in the scoping process and that is for 10 turbines,” he told us. “Surveys on issues such as ornithology and ecology are currently being carried out and once the results of these are assessed, we will look to see how we go forward.”

Meanwhile, Pine Wind UK Ltd, which is developing a proposal for a wind farm at Brunta Hill, north-west of Westruther, intends holding a number of public consultation exhibitions to enable the local community to see what is involved.

Lauder Public Hall will stage the first exhibition on August 30, from 4-9pm, with Westruther Village Hall hosting the next one on August 31, again from 4-9pm.

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