The Barrel Law scheme for 125m-high turbines was rejected by Scottish Borders Council in March 2013, but developers ABO Wind UK appealed that decision.
On Tuesday, Michael Cunliffe issued his judgement, ruling that the wind farm’s contribution towards renewable electricity targets and reduced carbon emissions did not outweigh its “unacceptable adverse impacts on the landscape and on aviation”.
Mr Cunliffe said the turbines would “significantly compromise the safe and effective use of the Deadwater Fell PSR (Primary Surveillance Radar)” and therefore the safe use of airspace north of RAF Spadeadam managed by RAF air traffic controllers.
In his decision notice, Mr Cunliffe added: “Alemoor Reservoir has recreational importance for anglers and walkers. There is a sense of tranquillity which would be lost if the landscape were dominated by large moving turbine blades.
“The wind farm would intrude an industrial feature into a peaceful rural setting, and diminish the enjoyment of the reservoir and its surrounding area by recreational users.”
The reporter went on: “I recognise that Barrel Law would not introduce an entirely new feature to the landscape, since 10 slightly smaller turbines are already being built at Langhope Rig.
“However, while the landscape does not enjoy protected status, I regard it as an attractive area of local importance, and consider its landscape character would be seriously damaged by the scheme.”
Duncan Scott, project manager for ABO Wind UK, said: “We are, of course, extremely disappointed with the outcome of the appeal. We believe Barrel Law is a very good location for a wind farm and we worked very hard over two years on the design submitted, confident it met all relevant planning and design criteria.
“While the decision to refuse is clear, we are at a loss to understand how the factors relevant to our application were balanced in reaching the conclusion.
“Taking all factors into account, we believe the planning balance was strongly in favour of allowing Barrel Law to proceed.”