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Berwick Bank Wind Farm: SSE fails in bid to stop objector 

Credit:  6th July 2023 | By Marie Sharp | eastlothiancourier.com ~~

An energy firm’s bid to stop a man, living at the heart of land it wants to buy as part of a wind farm project, from objecting at a public inquiry has failed.

SSE Renewables is behind the Berwick Bank Wind Farm project, which will bring energy onshore at Skateraw and then require a connection into the National Grid at Branxton, near Torness.

Kevan Jamieson, who lives near Innerwick, had described SSE’s public consultation around its plan to bring energy onshore from what is expected to be one of the world’s biggest wind farms as a “sham”.

But when he lodged a late objection to the application to Scottish Ministers for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to buy land around him, they objected to his request to take part in a public inquiry into the plans.

The firm pointed out that, since his land was not among the sites it wanted to buy, he was not a statutory consultee and claimed his objections should be heard at a planning hearing, not an inquiry into the CPO bid.

At a pre-examination hearing last week, Mr Jamieson was allowed to make a statement to the Scottish Government Reporter heading the upcoming public inquiry and representatives of those involved.

And he made a plea for all local residents living in the rural area who would be affected by the latest plan to bring offshore energy across their communities.

He said: “My home lies in one of 21 ‘island sites’, as I have termed them, created by a rather alarming red planning boundary that has been created around local dwellings.

“This fact alone has caused significant distress to myself and others which should be addressed.

“I, like many of the rural community, are not objecting to the wind farm. We fully support the decarbonisation of our energy generation processes. We all get it.

“This is not about the why but the how.”

SSE Renewables has asked Scottish Ministers to approve a CPO to allow it to acquire the rights and land to “construct, operate and remove electricity transmission lines, plant and ancillary infrastructure between Mean Low Water Springs at Skateraw and the grid connection point at Branxton”.

East Lothian Courier: Map shows route Berwick Bank Wind Farm cables will use to feed offshore power into the National Grid. pic DPEA Appeal website PERMISSION FOR USE FREE FOR ALL LDR PARTNERS

This map shows the route Berwick Bank Wind Farm cables will use to feed offshore power into the National Grid. Image: DPEA appeal website

In a statement, the firm said that the order would affect four private landowners who would be required to sell land, with a further 10 ordered to give the company permanent rights to use the land, and seven private landowners who would have temporary rights created over their land.

The proposals have received 16 objections, including representations from ScottishPower, EDF – which owns Torness Power Station – and Network Rail.

Mr Jamieson questioned the public consultation carried out by SSE and whether it had met the requirements set out by Scottish Ministers to consult ahead of applying for the CPO.

He said: “I contend the consultation to date has been an utter sham consisting of nothing more than a tick-box, minimum-effort exercise by SSE.”

And he appealed for the impact of such a land sale to be taken into account.

He said: “Land is a precious commodity, it is increasingly valuable to those that own it and increasingly costly to those that want it.

“It is increasingly important in terms of food production, it is immeasurably important in terms of wildlife, human enjoyment health and wellbeing, key for those whose livelihood relies on it.

“Land is defined by so much more than a line on a map. It is one of the few things we will never be able to replace, so I ask is it unreasonable for me to be involved in the shaping of my community?”

A representative for SSE said that he did not accept “any criticisms of SSE as set forth”.

He said: “I maintain Mr Jamieson’s objections are based in this being a planning inquiry, which it is not, and in my submission it should not be used as a proxy planning inquiry.”

Following the meeting last Wednesday, the Reporter issued a decision allowing Mr Jamieson to take part in the inquiry as an objector when it takes place.

He said: “There is no obvious material prejudice to the acquiring authority in Mr Jamieson’s participation as an objector.”

Source:  6th July 2023 | By Marie Sharp | eastlothiancourier.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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