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Revised Southern Upland Way turbine plans approved

Revised plans for a wind farm which was previously rejected amid concerns over its impact on a popular walking route have been approved.

Energiekontor had an 11-turbine project at Cornharrow near Carsphairn in Dumfries and Galloway refused in 2019.

A Scottish government reporter raised concerns about its effect on “enjoyment of cultural heritage” at the time.

The company subsequently removed three turbines and revised the scheme and it has now been given the all clear.

The 214-mile (344km) Southern Upland Way stretches from Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway to Cockburnspath in the Borders.

It is marketed as one of Scotland’s “great trails”.

Two years ago it was ruled that plans for turbines close to its route near Carsphairn should not be allowed to proceed.

The company revised its proposals and they were taken to the Scottish government once again.

This time around a reporter concluded that walkers would have an “intermittent view” of the wind farm.

However, he expressed “some doubts” about how well used the stretch of the walking route was.

“I encountered no other walkers between Culmark Hill and Benbrack in the course of my site inspection (though admittedly this took place ‘off-season’ in November),” he said.

“No footpath was evident on the ground over long sections, and many marker posts were either missing or in very poor repair.

“However, as a promoted national trail, the real visual impacts on the Southern Upland Way cannot be dismissed as unimportant.”

He concluded that there would be “some negative effects” but that these would be “remarkably limited” and decided that the eight-turbine project could go ahead.