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.

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

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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.