Largest wind farm looms on horizon

Bute Community Power is awaiting the outcome of its appeal against refusal of planning permission for two 47-metre wind turbines at the island's Auchintirrie farm.
Bute Community Power is awaiting the outcome of its appeal against refusal of planning permission for two 47-metre wind turbines at the island's Auchintirrie farm.

Plans are afoot for the construction of the Borders’ largest wind farm, which would stretch across three sites from the border to Hawick.

Partnership for Renewables has submitted a scoping report to Scottish Borders Council relating to the development, which would host 90 turbines.

The request covers three Forestry Commission Scotland forest blocks to the south of Hawick.

This is being scoped as a Section 36 project, meaning it is over 50MW, and requires consent to be granted by Scottish ministers under the Electricity Act.

The potential development would see up to 20 turbines on Newcastleton Forest, up to 50 on Wauchope East and up to 20 on Wauchope West. Scoping will run until February 24.

Alan Mathewson, regional manager at Partnerships for Renewables, said: “Views are being sought to establish what the key issues may be for any potential development moving forward.

“Some initial discussions have already taken place with community councils in Southdean, Hobkirk and Newcastleton, and this dialogue will continue throughout the development process.

“The first round of public exhibitions are due to start in early summer.”

A spokesperson for Windbyte, the wind farm protest group, said in reaction to the news: “Forestry Commission Scotland [on whose land the sites lay] currently seem more interested in turbines than trees.

“They have a number of other large schemes in planning, or in preparation, including another Scottish Borders proposal for 18 132m turbines at Cloich Forest, near Peebles, soon to be decided by the Scottish Government.”