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Fury over 150m tall turbines as council backs twice-rejected wind farm 

Credit:  By Katharine Hay · Published 3rd Jul 2024 · scotsman.com ~~

A wind farm that has been rejected twice before over fears of it developing “a wind farm landscape” in the Scottish Borders has been backed by council planners.

Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) chief planning officer recommended approval for the development, which will be considered at next week’s planning committee. The proposal involves eight turbines reaching 150m at Wull Muir near Heriot.

Councillors have previously refused the application, while an appeal against their decision was also rejected by a planning reporter.

There has been a raft of objections submitted against the scheme, most notably from Heriot Community Council which said it had submitted detailed objections, which councillors and the planning officer agreed were legitimate concerns.

SBC’s landscape architect also submitted a report stating that the developer has failed to address the planning reporter’s concerns and warned there is a danger of turning the surrounding Lammermuirs and the Moorfoot escarpment, a much-valued natural amenity, into a “wind farm landscape”.

In her report, she said: “The introduction of a wind farm along this section of the escarpment will diminish its stature and by introducing a wind farm to a part that currently is free of wind turbines, is in danger of the Lammermuir/Moorfoot escarpment becoming a ‘wind farm landscape’.”

The landscape architect also said the new application “did not satisfactorily address the reporter’s concern at the highly adverse landscape impact of the disruption to the escarpment”.

She also made clear that her objection to the application fell within the parameters of the new planning framework and the issues surrounding the application were not matters of policy.

Although the design has been changed, reports said the increased height of the proposed turbines continued to be an issue and the scheme still created major landscape and visual impact.

Despite the pushback, the council officer said the application could be approved ‘on balance’ because of the Scottish Government’s planning National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) which favours wind farm applications being granted.

In his report, he said there were legitimate concerns about the wind farm, but he could recommend approval on balance because of NPF4.

John Williams, chairman of Heriot Community Council, said: “We all understand the new planning framework, and although applications should be looked on favourably, it makes it clear they should not be approved at all costs.

“In this case that is what councillors are being asked to do – approve this scheme despite widespread and deeply felt local opposition and the fact that the council’s own landscape architect has set out very clear reasons why this scheme should not be approved.

“The community council had a very comprehensive objection to Wull Muir that has clearly fallen on deaf ears, despite the fact the fundamentals of this objection were taken on board by councillors and the reporter previously.

“There were more than double the objections to the scheme as there were in favour and local people feel utterly dismayed by this recommendation from the planning officer. We appeal to the planning committee to reject the application again and preserve this important Borders landscape.”

The developer and Scottish Borders Council have been contacted for comment.

Source:  By Katharine Hay · Published 3rd Jul 2024 · scotsman.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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