Ministers have granted planning permission for a 19-turbine wind farm in the south of Scotland despite a local council claiming it would “unacceptably harm” the landscape.
Developers Community Windpower said the Aikengall IIa wind farm will generate £9.4 million in community benefit for areas near the development site and support the creation of about 100 jobs.
The wind farm will be located near Cocksburnpath in the Lammermuir hills between East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, close to the existing 16-turbine Aikengall I development.
It will be able to generate up to 75.5MW of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of almost 35,000 homes.
Members of Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee voted to object to the scheme against the recommendations of planning officers on the grounds it would “unacceptably harm” the landscape.
The original plans for 27 turbines were scaled down to 17 and the developers said the wind farm would “sit comfortably” within the landscape.
East Lothian Council also opposed the scheme, claiming it was “unquestionably the wrong development in the wrong place”.
A Scottish Government planning reporter recommended granting consent following a public local inquiry, saying the impact on the landscape was not “unacceptable” and the scheme would make a “worthwhile contribution towards the achievement of the Scottish Government’s targets for renewable energy generation”.
Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Secretary Keith Brown granted consent on Wednesday.
He said: “Once operational, the Aikengall IIa wind farm will generate up to £9.4 million in community benefit while producing enough electricity to power almost 35,000 homes and bringing jobs and investment to local communities.
“Renewable energy sources generated more than 56% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland in 2015, helping support our world-leading ambitions to become a low-carbon economy.
“The growth of onshore wind in recent years has been a key factor in the expansion of renewable energy in Scotland: creating jobs, providing secure and low-carbon energy and delivering significant local benefits.”
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