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Third time unlucky for Beef Tub turbines

Councillors on Monday agreed to stand by their previous objections to the proposal for a large wind farm close to the Devil’s Beef Tub.

The plan for 22 turbines at Earlshaugh will be decided by Scottish Government ministers, but members of SBC’s planning committee were unanimous in objecting to the scheme.

It was the third time the proposal for the wind farm had come before the planning committee, having previously been for 36 turbines in 2008 and then 24 in 2011.

In addition to maintaining objections based around the adverse impact the turbines would have on the landscape character and quality, members also agreed that the turbines would give rise to an unacceptable sequential cumulative impact.

Councillor Stuart Bell raised the issue, which planning officer Ian Aikman admitted the department’s staff had be ‘wrestling over’.

It followed the presentation of data which showed the visibility of wind turbines along the A701 north from Moffat.

With new turbines in that area since the last time councillors looked at the plans, Mr Bell said: “The sequential cumulative impact will have been substantially enhanced since 2011.” Despite the developer’s attempts to lessen the impact of the turbines on the Devil’s Beef Tub, members felt significant concerns still stood.

In addition to the removal of two turbines from the plan, Wind Energy (Earlshaugh) Ltd had reduced the height of nine of the remaining 22 turbines to 100m from 125m.

However, despite acknowledging those attempts, Councillor Jim Fullarton said: “It is just not the right place, in this lovely wild landscape.”

Mr Aikman said that the changes had meant that no turbines or blades were visible from the main Devil’s Beef Tub viewpoint, but later added that from the southerly approach the turbines would be ‘breaching the skyline’ in places.

Members also agreed to “respectfully remind” the Government ministers of Lady Clark of Calton’s recent ruling regarding developers of large-scale wind farms requiring the necessary licence or exemption under the 1989 Electricity Act to distribute electricity.