Bid for wind farm on Borders boundary faces opposition from council planning committee

A proposed wind farm which would incorporate the tallest turbines ever seen in the Borders faces official council opposition.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 3:52 pm
Faw Side wind farm site. (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Cheshire-based Community Wind Power Ltd want to build a 45-turbine wind farm at Faw Side, six miles north of Langholm and 15 miles south-west of Hawick.

The company says the scheme, capable of generating 315mw of green electricity, would bring investment of £256m into the region.

But members of the council’s planning and building standards committee today, Monday, March 1, followed the recommendation of council planning officers in objecting to the scheme.

Grounds for opposition included the impact the turbines would have on the road leading to Commonbrae, near Tevothead, the site of the memorial Hizzy Cairn to world champion Hawick-born motorcyclist Steve Hislop.

There were concerns also that it was to be constructed on a prehistoric landscape dotted with Iron Age and Bronze Age scheduled monuments.

Residents had also baulked at the overall scale of the project, consisting of 40 200m-high turbines – four times the height of the Waterloo monument at Peniel Heugh near Jedburgh – with the remaining five standing at 178m.

Councillor Scott Hamilton said: “It is a very large wind farm and the impacts are going to be seen for quite a distance. I think the officers have nailed this very well. This application is just a non-starter for me.”

Councillor Clair Ramage said: “Obviously, we are trying to reach our energy targets and for me the wind turbines are a much better looking thing than the pylons but saying that I do feel that the officers have highlighted very clearly the adverse impact this would have on our landscape.”

Councillor Neil Richards added: “In terms of things like aviation lighting and the flicker effect and that, this is an area we are hoping to promote as a great tourist route into Scotland and I don’t think that says much to that. They are 200 metres to the tip... I have got to support the officers.” The committee’s decision is not the end of the matter as Scottish Borders Council is a consultee-only on the matter with Dumfries and Galloway Council having the final say.