Broadmeadows will benefit us

We believe that the proposed Broadmeadows wind farm development will provide a major boost to the economy of the Borders, supporting businesses and jobs at a time of severe economic difficulties.

We are therefore writing to express our hope that, when determining this planning application, Scottish Borders Council will take into consideration the many commercial benefits that this proposal would bring to the region’s economy.

GreenPower’s proposal, which is shortly to be determined by the council, has the potential to provide much-needed opportunities for local businesses to be part of the growing renewable energy industry.

“Broadmeadows wind farm would be an excellent match for the skills and services that a local company such as ours has to offer. GreenPower recently used a local contractor for one of its other projects in Argyll and we are encouraged that it is now investing time in forging links with businesses in the Borders” – Garry Young.

“Renewables is an exciting and growing sector in Scotland and we are extremely keen that the local construction sector makes the most of the business opportunities that renewable energy developments can provide. Some years ago GreenPower held a trade event for local businesses and we recently had discussions with them about hosting another event to give Borders contractors a chance to participate in the Broadmeadows wind farm project. We are keen to ensure that as much of such work as possible will go to local construction companies” – Deirdre McKendry.

“Broadmeadows wind farm would be a great opportunity for our company to compete for a major piece of business right on our doorstep” – Walter Glendinning.

“We have worked on wind farms before, and we know the vital job opportunities and income they can provide for smaller businesses. With the economy so tough, we appreciate every job we can get” – Brian Swinton, Joe Swinton & Son.

Garry Young (contracts manager, RJT Excavations, Jedburgh)

Deirdre McKendry (on behalf of the Building Construction Industry Forum)

Walter Glendinning (managing director, Glendinning Ground Works, Innerleithen)

Brian Swinton, Joe Swinton & Son (fencing contractors, Innerleithen)

Why do people protest against wind farms? Is it because we are Nimbys (not in my back yard), or perhaps we are not green?

Many people I speak to feel under pressure to be for or against wind farms, but in reality the vast majority of the population don’t have strong feelings about them until a planning application is made to put wind turbines on your doorstep. Balancing the needs of ourselves as individuals and the bigger picture of the economy or the green agenda is not easy, and is sometimes confused by the monetary benefits that are gained by some.

But what is certain is that a renewable energy policy shouldn’t be driven through to the detriment of all other interests.

Planning guidance (particularly the recently issued supplementary guidance) provides some basis on which to rationalise our thoughts, but in the end much of our reaction will be emotional and maybe that is how it should be.

Unspoilt landscapes are getting rarer in our modern world and the Borders still boasts some of the most beautiful of these, one of which is the views from and to the Three Brethren on the Southern Upland Way.

This is an area that is used and appreciated daily by riders, walkers and cyclists. It plays an important role in the Selkirk Common Riding as hundreds of riders enjoy the spectacular ride up there. At the weekend hundreds of walkers experienced the fantastic unspoilt views as they took part in the Hearts & Heroes Challenge.

The application to site a wind farm at Broadmeadows will dramatically alter this area both when you are up there and the skyline for miles around. Its construction would bring the surrounding communities little benefit, but instead rob them of their most valuable asset – the natural peace and beauty of the surrounding landscape.

As our economy struggles we need to make the most of what we have, including the potential for boosting tourism. Lining a historic unspoilt route with huge wind turbines would seem an illogical and negligent management of our assets.

Protecting areas like the Southern Upland Way doesn’t make you a Nimby or anti-green, it makes you a Borderer who loves and appreciates our home and recognises the need to hang on to those assets that will help protect our economy for the long term.

Michelle Ballantyne

(SBC candidate for the Conservative Party, Selkirkshire ward)

Again another wind farm company has done the very minimum in its dissemination of information and has ticked one of the statutory boxes.

Community Windpower is currently proposing a development approximately three kilometres to the west of Lauder and five kilometres east of Stow. An exhibition to show its intentions to the local community was held at Lauder last Wednesday.

This company has shown contempt for the people of Lauder and the surrounding area by advertising its information only in the Berwickshire News – a worthy paper, but one not widely read in this neck of the woods.

On asking the assistant project manager for Girthgate Community Wind Farm how many people in the area were informed, the reply was a few. Asked why TheSouthern was not used to advertise these events, there was, I am afraid, no reply.

Do not be fooled by the name of this proposal either. There is no actual wind farm for the community – it is, as usual, a private company using a good PR firm to make its proposal sound beneficial.

How did I know about this exhibition? I was informed by email by a friend who happened to be in Lauder and saw a sign saying “Wind farm exhibition, Lauder Hall, today”. The Berwickshire News was able to inform me when I contacted the paper of the two other proposed exhibitions at Oxton and Stow. By 6pm only a few people had actually been to see this 20-turbine 60MW exhibition. Those few that we met had been informed like us by word of mouth.

It would show a willingness to actually listen to the local community if this company were to re-advertise these exhibitions and many more people were able to air their views.

Margaret McDougall