Wind farms could be barred from Scotland’s national parks and designated scenic areas – but this could result in more wind farm developers looking Berwickshire’s way.
Scottish Natural Heritage has drawn up maps to be used in Scottish Planning Policy to protect the 31 per cent of the country covered by wild and scenic landscapes from development such as wind farms, but the maps leave little protection in the Scottish Borders.
Scottish Ministers also propose extending the separation distance between wind farms and cities, towns and villages.
Mark Rowley, chairman of Cranshaws, Ellemford & Longformacus Community Council has concerns about the lack of protection for the Borders.
He said: “Whilst the new proposed guidelines suggest some protection and a slightly larger distance between development and villages, it does nothing to protect Borders landscapes and communities.
“These proposals give false hope.
“In seeking to protect a small number of landscapes it becomes an open invitation to developers to complete their trashing of the Berwickshire landscape.
“The existing 2km setback from homes is routinely ignored by developers and Scottish Ministers and is worthless. At Wester Dod, Quixwood, Brunta, Corsbie or Rowantree there would be affected homes only 900m from huge 100m+ turbines.
“Landscape protection would only apply to certain national designations and strip away some of the protection the Borders might have.
“Berwickshire is under unique pressure. Eskdalemuir already limits development in the west of the Borders and with the early invitation to develop in the Lammermuirs the pressure on Berwickshire from speculative developers is intense and will only increase.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s energy committee, said: “Unfortunately, this concession comes too late for many communities, and is utterly insincere for those who won’t be protected by this.”
Director of policy for Scottish Renewables Jenny Hogan described onshore wind was “absolutely key” to Scotland’s climate change and renewable energy targets.
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