March 24, 2021

New proposed Teviothead windfarm bid raises ‘huge concerns’ – despite £3.6m a year community benefits

By Paul Kelly | The Southern Reporter | Wednesday, 24th March 2021 |

A massive new Borders windfarm bid has engendered deep concerns despite the promise of a £144m ‘golden nugget’ for communities around Teviothead.

Lanark-based Muirhall Energy has announced plans for a 75-turbine windfarm on forestry and farmland to the east of the village of Teviothead, 10km south of Hawick.

It says the development would net local communities £3.6 million a year – £144m over its lifetime – as part of the UK’s largest Community Investment Fund.

Muirhall will also offer a shared ownership opportunity which could see local groups become the biggest community investors in renewable energy anywhere in the UK.

The company also intend to open an office in the old Hawick Post Office.

Jamie Leslie, project manager for Muirhall Energy, said: “Teviot Wind Farm would deliver an industry-leading Community Investment Fund of £3.6m a year, equivalent to £10,000 a day every day for 40 years, for local groups to invest in things that matter to them.

“Our Muirhall Energy projects have delivered high-speed broadband, provided training initiatives for young people and helped community groups deal with the huge impact of Covid-18 restrictions.”

But despite the community benefits Hawick provost Watson McAteer is yet to be convinced.

He said: “I have huge concerns at the size and scale of the Teviot Wind Farm and the multiple impacts this will have on the local community. I have already received representation from community groups who are seeking much more practical detail beyond the enticing golden nugget being offered by the developers.

“WIth 75 turbines at heights of 220 metres this is a massive change in direction from previous applications and the sheer enormity of the proposal will need to be closely examined.

“Impacts of the River Teviot, ecological assessment and the cumulative impact of other nearby proposed sites will need detailed analysis and reporting.

“I can understand why the economic benefit to the local community is of course attractive and if this project is approved will make a difference.

“However we are the guardians of the future and selling our sole at the cost of desecrating our historic and beautiful natural countryside must be done with our eyes wide open’.

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