The company behind a controversial windfarm application for Peeblesshire have cut down their turbines.
And Partnerships for Renewables also hope that ongoing negotiations with the Ministry of Defence will lead to its seismic noise objections being lifted.
The firm initially planned to erect 18 132-metre-high turbines at Cloich Forest near Eddleston. But its 2012 application met with a wall of opposition from nearby community groups and other consultees.
Community Councils in Eddleston, Howgate, Lamancha and Peebles all tabled objections. And Scottish Borders Council’s archaelogy officer and landscape architect both opposed the plans.
Almost 18 months on, PfR newables has now submitted an addendum to the Scottish Government – and they have reduced the height of their turbines to 115 metres.
Other changes to the application, including better access and a new layout, have also been made to the original bid.
Regional Manager of Partnerships for Renewables, Alan Mathewson, told us: “Since the application was submitted, we have been working hard to address the issues raised by consultees by carrying out additional surveys as well as redesigning the development in order to reduce the scale and visual impacts.
“We have significantly reduced the tip height of the turbines from 132 metres to 115 metres, which has also allowed us to create a more compact layout within the forest.
“The overall spread of the development has been reduced by over a third although the installed capacity will be 54 MW – potentially enough to generate in excess of 130 gigawatt hours of energy and power in excess of 30,000 average homes.
“If the project goes ahead it will lead to improved access tracks and a potential community benefit fund of £270k per annum.”
Many locals have already expressed anger over the time the application has been with the Energy Consents and Development Unit at the Scottish Government.
And that four deadlines for PfR’s supplementary environmental information, which has now been tabled as an addendum, were missed.
Protecting Eddlestone’s Landscape and Environment (PELE) are also calling for the changes to be considered as a fresh application – and go out again to full consultation.
Amongst the several statutory bodies who objected to the initial application were the MOD.
They were concerned about the potential effects on monitoring equipment at Eskdalemuir Seismological Recording Station as the windfarm site lay within a 50km radius.
An assessment of the current 50km protection radius regulations is ongoing.
PfR’s addendum states: “The Stage 1 report is expected to be completed by the end of January 2014. The results of the study could be made public by mid-March 2014.
“PfR fully expects that by that time the Ministry of Defence will have created sufficient headroom to allow the proposed Cloich Forest Wind Farm to be accommodated within the current noise limit thereby maintaining the integrity of the Eskdalemuir array.”
Partnership for Renewables will hold a public exhibition of their revised plans in the Elibank Suite of the Barony Castle Hotel on Thursday, February 20, between 2.30pm and 8pm.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding