A Borders rural community is united in opposition to a ‘second time around’ wind farm bid which has been labelled ‘appalling’.
A pre-application request has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for the 15-turbine Millmoor Rig Wind Farm, to be located at Wauchope Forest, south of Bonchester Bridge and within existing commercial forestry land.
It is anticipated the turbines to be constructed on the site would have a blade tip heights of 200 metres.
A previous application for the 13-turbine Highlee Hill Wind Farm at the same location, submitted by Hertfordshire-based Renewable Energy Systems (RES) six years ago, encountered major opposition, partly because of blade tip heights of 176m, and that bid was formally withdrawn in May 2017.
The new proposed development from Irish-based Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is at the same location but with a different boundary.
Emphasis has been placed on it being a “wholly new project with no connection to the Highlee Hill Wind Farm proposed or RES.”
That argument has not persuaded locals to support the latest application, and at a community meeting last week the bid encountered “total opposition”.
Philip Kerr, chairperson of Southdean Community Council, described it as “basically the same scheme as before”.
He has highlighted the negative impact he believes the development would have on residents living in nearby Chesters.
Mr Kerr said: “Millmoor Rig is an appalling scheme.
“The developer is very keen to say they are a different developer but in practice the turbines are virtually in the same location on a relatively small bit of land and they are using the same viewpoints.
“Highlee Hill ran into all sorts of difficulty over the size of the turbines. They tried to do 175m last time and everybody was against it – I think we had something like 500 objections and three supporters.
“This new one has turbines that are even higher and it is in close proximity to Chesters. If you drive up and down Chesters Brae the houses there look south onto that view. There is a hill behind but the overwhelming majority of houses in Chesters look to the south, so effectively the setting of Chesters has got these 15 turbines, 200 metres high just two or three kilometres away.
“We had a community meeting at which there was total opposition. There is one or two people who do support green energy but everyone we have spoken to are against this one.
“There are several properties that are seriously impacted to such a degree that we would argue they would be overbearing and dominant. It’s the wrong development in the wrong place. If you look at the landscape studies it could probably take turbines up to 80m but certainly not 200m.”
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