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Crystal Rig windfarm extension inquiry

A bid to extend an onshore windfarm in the scenic Lammermuir Hills has been branded “a step too far” as it includes turbines as high as “the towers of the new Queensferry Crossing”.

Concerns about the latest proposals for the Crystal Rig windfarm project, which straddles East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, have been lodged with Scottish Ministers as an inquiry into the proposals is launched.

And while local neighbours have branded the plans – which included four turbines with a tip height of 200 metres – too intrusive, local estate owners have accused the applicants of creating a “stalking horse” to try and replace older turbines with new higher versions.

They say the approval of the giant turbines on the new site could lead to a bid to replace smaller turbines – some of which are less than 100 metres high – on established windfarm sites with new, bigger versions.

Representatives from Mayshiel and Cranshaws Estates said the inclusion of 200-metre-high turbines in the latest plans, which it warned were “the height of the towers on the new Queensferry Crossing”, should be very carefully considered.

They said: “It is a stalking horse prelude to the proposed re-powering of the early phases of Crystal Rig with turbines of this height.”

One local residents objected that plans to site some of the giant turbines near a country road could pose a health and safety risk if one toppled or collapsed.

A neighbour of the current windfarm development, he said: “I have been a big supporter of renewable energy over the years, including Crystal Rig applications over the years, but this is a step too far.”

Another objector from Innerwick added that the proposed turbines would be “out of scale with those existing at Crystal Rig”, becoming a dominant feature on the landscape.

The proposals for Crystal Rig IV, by Fred. Olsen Renewables, will see a further 11 wind turbines placed on the Lammermuir Hills.

Scottish Ministers have sent the application to a Scottish Reporter for an inquiry which is expected to reach a conclusion by February next year.

The latest phase of the Crystal Rig project will take the number of turbines on the site to more than 100.