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Aikengall wind farm extension opposed

The Scottish Government will decide whether a further 19 turbines can be added to Aikengall wind farm in the Lammermuirs, but the answer from the Borders is No.

Despite being advised by council officers at this week’s Scottish Borders Council planning committee meeting to make no objection to the wind farm expansion plans, councillors had other ideas and decided to add their objections to those of East Lothian Council, and local community councils.

Aikengall wind farm straddles the boundary with East Lothian and after applicants Community Windpower Ltd reduced the number of turbines from 30 to 19, SBC planning officers felt that the changes “resulted in an acceptable level of impact on landscape character” and were sufficient for the council to support the wind farm expansion.

“Although the position is finely balanced in weighing project benefits against the likely adverse environmental impacts, revisions have mitigated or reduced impacts to a level where they are broadly acceptable,” reads the officers report.

Planning officers did feel, however, that further consideration of the design and layout was needed.

Councillors voted 5-2 to oppose the application; the second time they have objected to the planned expansion.

Opponents of the scheme were delighted that councillors said that “enough was enough and a strong message needed to be sent to Scottish Ministers that this part of the Lammermuirs was at saturation point and development should stop”.

Mark Rowley, chairman of Lammermuir Community Council said: “Residents will be delighted that councillors have recognised their concerns.

“At 145m tall these would have been the biggest turbines in the Borders with significant and adverse landscape impacts being felt over a wide area – concerns that prompted our concerns and those of neighbouring community councils too.

“SBC has objected to proposals to construct windfarms on this site several times before, so we were puzzled as to why officers felt they should support it.

“Anyone visiting the site would understand that significant harm has already been done and further extensions would be reckless.

“Locally there is a clear feeling that our community and our landscape have already done more than our bit with the huge extent of wind farm development we host in our landscape.

“Of the 512 large-scale wind turbines currently affecting the Scottish Borders 386 of them affect Berwickshire. Much of that large-scale development affects the Lammermuir Hills Area of Great Landscape Value and Special Landscape Area.”