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Villagers taking officials to task over Heriot wind farm plans

A Borders village is taking on the Scottish Government over its decision to approve a controversial wind farm.

Heriot Community Council is taking legal action against a reporter’s decision to overturn Scottish Borders Council’s rejection of the proposed Gilston wind farm.

The local authority turned down Forsa Energy’s application to build seven turbines on land north west of Gilston Farm due to landscape impact converns.

However, that decision, backed by Heriot Community Council, was overruled by a Scottish Government reporter in February after it was judged that the cumulative impact with the nearby Dun Law wind farm would be acceptable.

Community council chairman John Williams said: “There are a number of matters that appear to be flawed, or even simply omitted from consideration, in the reporter’s decision to the point where legal advice confirms that the decision should be challenged.

“Having considered everything carefully, the community council has decided to take legal action against the decision, with backing from concerned local people.

“That action has just been lodged with the courts. Nothing is certain in such legal disputes, least of all small communities challenging the Scottish Government.”

The regional council can’t discuss that ongoing battle, but in the midst of it all, it has received another planning application for a wind farm at Wull Muir.

Energiekontor wants to build eight 130m turbines just off of the A7 at Falahill, and the community council, representing Heriot’s 250-odd population, is debating how it will respond to the application, having been given an extension by council planners to gather views.

Mr Williams added: “We have been having wind farm applications of some sort in this area for the last 10 years or so. There are some people that are very pro-wind power and some that are very anti.

“The thing about this site is that it is on the top of the area called Wull Muir, around 3km north-west of the village. Because of that height, it will be quite visible from other sites within the village.”

“Given that this is a planning response, we are trying to gather views then come to a conclusion whether we should back it or not.”