Wind farm firm puts Valley road closure plans on the agenda

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PLANS to close a road linking Hawick with the Ettrick Valley in order to accommodate a wind farm are to be discussed next week, writes Kenny Paterson.

Two information days will be held in Roberton detailing the 10-turbine Langhope Rig scheme, which will sit between Ettrickbridge and Ashkirk.

Staff from developers SSE Renewables and Scottish Borders Council’s roads department will be on hand to answer questions, with the main issue likely be the lengthy closure of the B711 road to strengthen Martin’s Bridge near Hawick, which will be used to carry the huge turbines to the Langhope Rig site.

The closure was due to start on August 7 and last for 18 weeks, but it is believed local anger from Roberton residents – as well as timber and farm transporters who faced a detour of at least 12 miles during the works – led to its postponement. Construction of the wind farm is due to start in spring 2013, but an SBC spokesman said: “No decisions will be taken about when the road is to close until after the information days.”

SSE Renewables’ Kirstanne McDowall, community liaison manager for Langhope Rig, said: “We are looking forward to informing local residents and businesses of our plans for the Langhope Rig wind farm before the construction phase, in particular to provide insight into our traffic management plan.

“We will also provide details of our community investment package, which we expect to be worth at least £2million over the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm.

“We hope local businesses will also attend the events to tell us about themselves and find out about any opportunities that may arise during the construction phase of the wind farm.”

SSE Renewables saw its Langhope Rig application turned down by SBC’s planning committee in 2007 after 370 objections were lodged, but Scottish ministers overturned the decision in 2008 following an appeal.

The information days take place on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-8pm in Roberton’s Forman Hall.