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Fears lit-up Lammermuir wind turbines would be visible for miles

Plans to light up new wind turbines on the Lammermuir Hills have criticised.

East Lothian Council has objected to the proposed expansion of the Crystal Rig wind farm, which straddles the local authority’s boundary with the Scottish Borders, over plans to put red lights on top of them to meet Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

The size of the proposed turbines has already raised objections from local residents, who said some would be as high as the towers of the new Queensferry Crossing.

Now, East Lothian Council has objected to the need to light the giant structures, fearing they would be highly visible throughout the county.

Scottish Ministers are holding an inquiry into proposals by Crystal Rig IV Ltd to place 11 new turbines on the hills, with some as high as 200 metres from ground to blade tip.

East Lothian Council said that its main objection was the introduction of “red permanent lighting into the Lammermuir Hills”.

They said: “The Lammermuirs form the backdrop to East Lothian. The skyline, especially where unbroken, characterises East Lothian.

“The area is characterised by a lack of lighting, creating the perception of an undeveloped area at night.”

Objecting to the need to put aviation lights on the new turbines because of their height, the council said: “A good example for red lighting are the lights on the cranes at the St James Centre [in the centre of Edinburgh].

“These show how clearly red light travels and that the intensity of the light and weather conditions makes little difference to the distance it can be viewed at.

“The lighting here is easily visible from the Garleton Hills, a similar distance as the proposed Crystal Rig turbines are from Tranent.”

The council added it would support a solution which allowed the wind farm to be built without introducing turbine lighting if one could be found.

The proposals are currently with a Scottish Reporter for investigation, with a decision due in February.

Representatives from Mayshiel and Cranshaws Estates have already lodged objections, saying the inclusion of 200-metre-high turbines in the latest plans should be very carefully considered.

Comparing them to the height of the Queensferry Crossing towers, 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.”

The proposals for Crystal Rig IV, by Fred. Olsen Renewables, will take the number of turbines on the site to more than 100.

Defending the introduction of the lighting, Crystal Rig agents said: “No parts of East Lothian are formally valued for their darkness or unlit quality.”