Seismic concerns put turbine plan on hold

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning bid to erect a 220-foot commercial wind turbine at Lanton Crag, near Jedburgh, has been withdrawn, writes Joe Hipwell.

Green Cat Renewables Ltd had submitted the application to Scottish Borders Council last year, on behalf of Lanton Crag resident Alec Riding.

Both Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage said they did not object to the submitted plans, but the Ministry of Defence (MOD), as well as many local residents, lodged their dissent.

The MOD cited concern over the seismic output of such a turbine, a spokesman stating: “As a full signatory to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the UK Government has significant obligations including the maintenance of the Eskdalemuir Seismological Recording Station (ESRS) as a fully operational and available part of the International Monitoring System.”

The ESRS plays a major role in this monitoring and the MOD is tasked with ensuring the Dumfriesshire station continues to fulfil its role.

“Research undertaken to date has identified that inappropriate wind turbine development in the Eskdalemuir area will jeopardise the station’s work and therefore negate the UK Government’s obligations to the treaty,” said the MOD spokesman.

Cedric Gerbier, of Green Cat Renewables Ltd, explained the reasons for withdrawing the application this week on behalf of Mr Riding.

“The application was withdrawn because the [SBC] planning officer indicated that it would be turned down on two grounds: firstly because of the MOD’s objections, but also because of the perceived landscape and visual impact.”

However, TheSouthern understands there is still concern among some local residents that, by withdrawing the application before it could be rejected, the door has been left open for a future, modified proposal.

The MOD spokesperson told us: “There are potential mitigation technologies being developed which means it may be possible to release further wind turbine development capacity within the ESRS zone so long as the additional developments do not breach the set noise levels.

“Developers are encouraged to explore these technologies and to put forward to MOD a suitable mitigation solution. If it is accepted by MOD as a successful solution, then we would consider removing existing objections and may refrain from objecting to some future developments.”

Mr Gerbier told TheSouthern his client was “open-minded” about the use of such a mitigating technologies in the future, but confirmed: “The project is currently on hold.”