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Border wind turbines proposal faces opposition from council

Major concerns have been raised about the visual impact of two proposed wind turbines next to the English and Scottish border.

Berwick Town Council is objecting to the 80-metre tall turbines planned on Marshall Meadows Farm, just south of the border.

Councillor Tom Forrester said: “These turbines might be okay in the Lammermuirs but they are far too close to what is a very historic town.

“One of the proposed turbines is almost on the border and is going to destroy the view from Lamberton. They are also close to the Halidon Hill battle field.”

The turbines would be located on farmland to the west of the A1, accessed through a new track from an existing farm entrance. The nearest residential buildings would be 500m to the south east at New East Farm.

Advance Renewables and Berwick Community Trust have lodged a scoping request which would assess the suitability of the site for wind turbines prior to the possible submission of a full planning application later this year.

The turbines would generate an estimated 4.6GWh of renewable electricity per year, equivalent to the average amount used by 1,000 UK households. This would provide revenue to the Berwick Community Trust.

But Councillor Alan Turnbull said: “I support renewable energy and like the fact the community trust would benefit from it and help the work they do in the town but I just think it’s not the right place and it’s too big.”

Councillor Catherine Seymour also voiced concerns about the impact the turbines would have on the town.

She said: “These turbines would be visible from the Berwick conservation area, medieval and post-medieval fortifications, Newfields, the A1, Lamberton, Lamberton Shields, the coastal path near Marshall Meadows, Springhill, Halidon Hill and the Ramparts Business Park.”

And Councillor Alex Gibson added: “These monstrosities would be a distraction to drivers and could cause an accident.”

Concerns have also been raised about cumulative impact as the site is just 1.6km away from the community trust’s newly constructed 74-metre tall turbine at Steps of Grace, to the north of the Ramparts Business Park.

Coun Forrester said: “The application talks about a ‘cluster’ of turbines. Well, two wind turbines doesn’t constitute a cluster to me so my concern would be that this could eventually lead to a few more being built.”

The developers submitted a screening request last autumn and had hoped to avoid the requirement to complete an environmental impact assessment.

Stuart Mears, project lead, said: “The small scale development and its location outwith sensitive areas limit the effects of the proposal.

“We conclude that the land and environment are able to accommodate the proposed development with no significant effects.”

However, planners have insisted that an environmental impact assessment is required due to ‘its potential for significant impacts on landscape character, visual amenity, visual receptors and ecologically sensitive areas’.

The turbine model is expected to be the Enercon E-48 which would have a capacity of 750 kilowatts.

Scoping looks at the broad range of environmental concerns and allows stakeholders to be engaged at an early stage of the proposed development so they may contribute their views and provide relevant information.