Ancient burials at solar site

A BRONZE Age cemetery could pose a stumbling block to plans to develop a ‘solar park’ near Easter Langlee, writes Adam Drummond.

Green Switch Solutions had requested an official opinion from Scottish Borders Council planners on whether or not the proposed development of around 11,000 ground-based solar panels in a field between Easter Langlee and Glendearg would require a full environmental impact assessment to be submitted along with any future planning application.

SBC’s archaeology officer Dr Chris Bowles reported: “Developments within the proposed site will have archaeological implications, and I have concerns that development within the field could post a detrimental risk to significant buried archaeology. It was reported to the Ordnance Survey in the 19th century that several probable prehistoric barrows were found in the field, and that a large number of objects were recovered including bronze spears and knives.

“The description could indicate a Bronze Age cemetery of unknown size. The upstanding barrows were ploughed away in the 19th century, but buried evidence of these and other burial features may still exist.

“These features may range from the remnants of large burial cairns, to surviving burial cists, to small pit burials of cremated human remains.”

Dr Bowles also said in his report that a geophysical survey of the site was carried out in 1990 which confirmed the presence of what could be an enclosed settlement.

Due to his findings, Dr Bowles has recommended that a new geophysical survey report should be carried out on the site by the developers if they wish to proceed.

He added: “Ultimately, it may not be possible to accommodate a development in certain areas of this site if significant archaeology will be impacted. However, as the actual below-ground impacts of a solar scheme, not including associated infrastructure such as access tracks, may be slight, it may be possible to conduct limited mitigation of impacts in areas.”

The planners have told Green Switch Solutions that a full environmental impact assessment will not be needed.