Highlee Hill wind farm bid sparks 100-plus objections

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Plans for a wind farm comprising 13 turbines on Highlee Hill, near Chesters, have sparked no fewer than 117 letters of objection – plus two comments in support.

The proposal, submitted by Renewable Energy Systems, includes proposals to put up 11 turbines measuring 176m high to their tips, making them taller than any others in the Borders, and two standing at 150m high.

Associated works and infrastructure including compounds, buildings and tree-felling would also be needed.

The objection letters come from various community councils and individuals living close to the site.

Denholm and District Community Council gives several reasons for its “unanimous and resolute opposition”, namely visual impact and the potential effects on tourism, the local economy, roads and wildlife.

It also raises questions over the decommissioning of the wind farm in 30 years’ time.

Another objection advanced is the effect of aircraft warning lights on the turbines on the neighbouring dark sky tourist attraction in Northumberland’s Kielder Forest.

However, the company insists the proposal would be beneficial to the community.

“A wind farm at Highlee Hill could provide significant benefits to the local economy,” said Ruth Elder, a development manager with RES.

“We estimate it will bring £3.6m of inward investment to the area in the form of jobs, employment and the use of local services, alongside around £575,000 annually in business rates.

“The project has the potential to provide sufficient renewable energy to meet the average demand of more than 30,000 homes, and we’ve already undertaken a range of engagement activities to design a project which, we believe, reflects the best balance of economic, social and environmental considerations.”

The statutory expiry date of the proposal is Monday, October 31, and no date has yet been set for it to go before planners.