Despite submissions of support outnumbering objections, the planning committee of Scottish Borders Council has rejected plans for a seven-turbine wind farm at Gilston Farm, Heriot.
Under the proposal from Gilston Hill Windfarm Ltd, each turbine on the 170-hectare site between the A68 and the A7 – just inside the regional border with Midlothian – would be 125 metres high and generate 3MW of electricity.
But councillors heard recently that the bid had fallen foul of both Edinburgh Airport and its air traffic control provider NATS Safeguarding.
SBC’s chief planning officer Ian Aikman, in a report recommending refusal of the application, said: “They object to the proposals on the basis they would present obstacles to air traffic and hazards to the monitoring and management of air traffic with potential consequences for air safety.”
The council had received 21 submissions in support of the wind farm, many citing the virtues of renewable energy, the relative seclusion of the site and a potential community benefit fund estimated to be worth £105,000 per year.
The 12 objectors highlighted the cumulative impact of the turbines in an area which already has nine wind farms on either side of the regional border and claimed this would hit the visitor and tourist economy.
In his report, Mr Aikman said the council recognised there was strong support for the development of renewable energy in current Scottish planning policy.
“However, it is not considered that this outweighs the relevant unacceptable significant adverse impacts and effects of this proposal, particularly with respect to the landscape and its impacts on the movement, management and monitoring of air traffic,” said Mr Aikman.
He concluded that these impacts outweighed any wider economic and environmental benefits derived from a wind farm at this site.
His recommendation to refuse the planning application was endorsed by the committee.
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