Jet fears for wind farm

Hermitage Castle

Hermitage Castle

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A series of objections have been lodged by the Ministry of Defence to a proposed wind farm close to Hermitage Castle.

In a letter to Scottish Borders Council, the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which deals with consultations on wind farms, said the effect of the turbines on air traffic control radar, nuclear test detection equipment and low flying would be unacceptable.

While the first two are regularly behind MoD objections to wind farms in the Borders, the latter is cited less often.

In the consultation response Claire Duddy from the MoD said: “The turbines will be within the overlapping low flying areas of 13 and 20T where flight as low as 100ft is authorised. In conjunction with operations at RAF Spadeadam, aircraft are responding to air defence threat systems and the addition of turbines in this location is a flight safety hazard as well as compromising the ability to train.

“This type of training is not available anywhere else in the United Kingdom.”

Malcolm McGregor, chairman of the Hermitage Action Group, which opposes the scheme, said: “The range of consultees objecting is quite staggering, and it makes you wonder why Infinis selected this location in the first place.”

However, Mr McGregor added: “We realise we cannot afford to be complacent, but you would hope that someone at Infinis is looking at this and weighing up if they are flogging a dead horse.”

The MoD’s response is yet another blow to developer Infinis, who is seeking to build 17 turbines, up to 121.5m high, at Windy Edge.

Last month, The Southern reported that Historic Scotland had objected to the plans.

In their consultation response, the agency said: “We have strong concerns that the proposed wind farm would have a significant adverse impact on the setting of Hermitage Castle.”

Infinis did not respond to a request for a comment on the MoD’s position.

This week, Scottish Borders Council also rejected proposals for a nine-turbine scheme at Shawpark, near Stow.

At the planning committee meeting on Monday, councillors were at pains to consider the impact on views across Lauder Common. They were also mindful of the added visual effect given the development of the Borders Railway.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne said the scheme was “not well contained”, a view supported by Councillor Jim Fullarton.

He commented that in his opinion the artist’s impressions of the turbines in the landscape showed the “industrialisation of our Borders countryside”.