PLANS to extend one of the largest wind farms in Europe into the Borders has been backed – provided five turbines are removed, writes Kenny Paterson.
If the condition is met, Scottish Borders Council’s principal planning officer Craig Miller has no objections to the application for 54 turbines near Tweedsmuir.
The bid by SSE Renewables would be an extension to the current 152 Clyde Wind Farm development in South Lanarkshire, and will be considered by SBC’s planning committee on Monday.
Only three turbines are sited within the Borders boundary in SSE Renewables’ proposed layout, with the remainder in South Lanarkshire.
But due to its size, it is the Scottish Government who will decide whether the application is successful, with both the Borders and South Lanarkshire councils only involved as consultees.
However, Mr Miller has called for the wind farm to be scaled down for visual impact reasons, with the developers having already reduced the proposal from 57 to 54 machines.
The applicants claim the £246million scheme will generate nearly 150 jobs locally, with more than £20million being pumped back into local communities over the lifespan of the wind farm.
Meanwhile, planning committee members will be recommended to refuse a wind farm application on the Scottish Borders-Midlothian boundary at Monday’s meeting.
Midlothian Council has already refused nine of the 16 turbines at the Gilston Farm site which sits in its jurisdiction, and SBC planning officer Dorothy Amyes is advising rejection of the remaining seven due to visual and landscape impact concerns.
Objections have also been submitted from a wide range of groups, such as the RSPB, Heriot and Oxton and Channelkirk community councils, and the Ministry of Defence, which later dropped its opposition.
Local councillor Sandy Aitchison said: “There is growing concern in the area between the A7 and A68 that if all the planned applications are granted the whole area will be covered with turbines.
“This raises all sorts of worries in terms of wildlife and also residential life.
“It is my view, until technology improves in our ability to store electricity we should build no more.”