For several years we have come to the Borders to stay the weekend and walk the pleasant and easily-accessed routes that meander across the landscape.
The Southern Upland Way from Yair to the Three Brethren and then onto Traquair is one of the loveliest and most unspoilt walks in the UK. Extremely therapeutic on a beautiful spring day, with wonderful views to the Cheviots in the distance, Yarrow to the west, a poorly-publicised stunning view of the Eildons in the nearer foreground, and a totally-invigorating piece of exercise, even on a wild and wet winter walk.
Why can it even be considered possible to dump out-of-place windmills on this natural treasure? The photograph in Andrew Keddie’s article in last week’s Southern illustrates, graphically, what the mindless destruction of the landscape will look like. Why would Scottish Borders Council planners support it?
They and their councillors, as custodians of our natural landscape, should be campaigning vigorously against it.
The worrying aspect of all this is that we cannot trust local planning committees made up of councillors to make sensible decisions.
When down in the Borders earlier in the year we read about their refusal of an environmentally-friendly, sustainably-built wooden house at Midlem. The leader of the planning committee, Carolyn Riddell-Carre, wrote a letter saying that the Midlem application “was at odds with Midlem’s sense of place”. Following this line of thinking the windmills in last week’s photograph are truely at odds with Yarrowford’s sense of place.
If we must have more windmills why not add more to Dun Law which is already spoiled, rather than smother the rest of the country too?
Surely common sense will prevail here, but there is a sneaking sense of unease among the public that local councillors, who are after all politicians, may get this wrong and blight one of the Borders’ most appreciated assets – its landscape and walking routes.
Old Dalkeith Road
Readers who are concerned with the apparently unstoppable spread of wind power stations in the Borders will be interested in a report of the meeting organised by Lauderdale Community Council last week, to enable the public to question Scottish Parliament candidates for the May election on their views on this contentious topic.
The Borders already has more megawatts of wind generation per head of population than the rest of Scotland. Lauderdale, in particular, has seen five new proposals during the last few months.
Candidates for the Lauderdale, Tweeddale and Midlothian constituency were on the platform.
Both Peter Duncan and Jeremy Purvis agreed that it was time to halt the deployment of wind farms and take stock. Both supported the proposal for a 2km separation of turbines from habitation, as did Ian Miller.
Christine Grahame’s views were more equivocal and harder to ascertain precisely as she tended to digress to other political issues.
Paul Wheelhouse, a candidate for the Roxburgh, Berwickshire and Ettrick constituency, was present in the audience and although given the microphone several times did not really make his views clear.
At the end of the meeting Councillor Nicholas Watson called for a show of hands from the audience of around 100.
There was almost unanimous support for the principle of renewable energy. However, on whether the Borders should have more wind farms, fewer than half a dozen hands were raised, several of which were recognised as belonging to visiting representatives of wind farm developers.
Those of us who feel that the Borders has already done its bit for renewable energy will be encouraged by the views of at least some of the candidates. Regardless of who is elected, our new representative should also have received a strong message from his or her constituents.
We are keen cyclists, enjoying the adrenalin rush of the downhill sections of the 7stanes routes as well as more leisurely trips around the Tweed Valley.
Living in Dundee, we visit both on day trips and for longer periods. We have been delighted at recent developments and encouraged to hear of plans for even more trails.
Last weekend, however, we also found out about the wind farms planned on Minch Moor and at Broadmeadows. Have you all gone mad in the Borders?
Admittedly, the wind farms won’t stop us coming to ride the trails on a day’s outing, but they will stop us visiting for longer periods. Sorry, but we don’t come down from a city to see wind turbines, we come for the scenery and wildlife.
We don’t contribute much to your local economy on a day trip, but we are both doctors and on longer trips we use local restaurants and hotels. It looks like the Borders will kill the goose that lays the golden egg to give high profits to foreign companies and provide politicians with a soundbite on renewables.
Neil Harrison Dundee