November 28, 2021

Whitelaw Brae: Wind farm extension backed by government

By Mike Thomson, Reporter | Peeblesshire News |

A five-year extension to a Tweeddale wind farm has been given the green light by the Scottish Government.

In 2017, the 14-turbine Whitelaw Brae development in the Tweedsmuir hills was granted an operational life of 25 years, despite concerns over its visual impact.

And now the turbines – which stand at a maximum height of 133m – will be in use for an extra five years.

The Scottish Government said that the extension would support its climate targets.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) had no objection to the plans, with the five-year extension not deemed “significant”.

SBC had rejected the wind farm when the initial bid was tabled after its planning committee heard that the landscape would “change dramatically” if the development was permitted.

Elsewhere in the Borders, plans for another 14-turbine development have been filed with the council.

The Greystone Knowe farm – around 2.5 km west of Fountainhall – is a joint venture between ESB and Coriolis Energy, according to papers submitted as part of the application.

Scotland’s current climate change ambitions has been given as a reason for the proposed turbines, which would have a maximum tip height of 180m. Documents submitted to the council state: “The UK and Scotland’s current climate change ambitions are amongst the highest in Europe. The Scottish government declared a climate emergency in May 2019 and has recently passed the Climate Change Bill which has passed into law the requirement for a 100 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2045 and an interim target of 70 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

“Looking beyond to 2030, the Scottish Energy Strategy target for 50 per cent of total energy demand (including from heat and transport) from renewable sources implies a further substantial increase in delivery required.

“As such, the Scottish Government looks to encourage all renewable and low carbon solutions for meeting the energy target.”

On the location, the report adds: “The Greystone Knowe project area has not formed a part of any previously proposed onshore wind development and has the capacity to make a valuable contribution to national policy aims.

“In addition, experience in the local community now indicates that the shared benefits of wind energy development can make a valuable contribution towards local community needs through community benefit funds as well as investment and employment during construction.”

If approved, the turbines would be the biggest of the operational wind farms within 15km of the site.

According to the papers, there are three developments within that radius.

Carcant, near Heriot, has three turbines with a maximum height of 107m, while Oxton’s Toddleburn has 12 turbines with the tallest at 125m. The turbines at Longpark wind farm, near Stow, stand at a maximum of 110m, the report states.

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