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Corsbie Moor wind farm plan is turned down by councillors

The nine turbine wind farm planned at Corsbie Moor has been unanimously rejected by Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee.

Responding to the councillors’ decision, a spokesperson for Developers E.on Climate & Renewables UK Developments Ltd said: ““We’re clearly disappointed with the outcome of the planning meeting as we worked so closely with the councils and communities to ensure that the project was acceptable to them.

“We still see tremendous value in the Corsbie Moor site, and are currently deciding the way forward for the project.”

The initial application had been for 12, 126.5m turbines and while E.On reduced the number of turbines following consultation with local communities and Scottish Borders planning officials, the height of them remained the same.

There were over 200 letter of objection to the application, as well as objections from four community councils – Lauderdale, Gordon and Westruther, Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus and Earlston – and council planners recommended that the application be refused because of the impact the 126.5m turbines would have on the landscape, plus the “significantly adverse cumulative effect” on sections of the Southern Upland Way and Twin Cairns, viewpoint.

Councillors were told that there had also been over 500 submissions received in support but that many of these were in the same format and most support wind energy in principle rather that referring to this particular development.

There were no objections from the Ministry of Defence, Historic Scotland but while not objecting, Scottish Natural Heritage did express serious concerns.

The MoD, while not objecting, requested that turbines are fitted with aviation lighting and the position of every turbine is clear and can be plotted on flying charts.

Planning officers at SBC had already indicated their concern about the increasing height of the turbines included in wind farm applications and in June this year they wrote to six developers in the Berwickshire area to inform them that their applications would be recommended for refusal because of the scale and that they are in a more “domestic/agricultural landscape.”

Corsbie Moor wind farm was not included in that list but it was still recommended for refusal and councillors accepted the view of the officers who criticised the “unsympathetic relationship of the development to the character of the surrounding landscape by virtue of scale, and in particular, the height.”

The planning officer’s report went on to say: “The proposed wind farm will have a particularly harmful effect on this northern section of the Southern Upland Way where views to the south, which are currently free of significant views of wind farm, would be undermined by the introduction of this wind farm within the foreground of the Eildon Hills.”