Brunta Hill scheme set to be turned down

Wind farm. Photograph: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL
Wind farm. Photograph: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

A wind farm which could lie within a kilometre of the Southern Upland Way is being recommended for refusal by planning officials.

The Brunta Hill scheme, proposed by developer PNE Wind, is set to be decided by members of the council’s planning committee on Monday.

The proposed eight-turbine wind farm near Westruther has attracted 110 objections since being submitted to the council as a 10-turbine plan. As well as the removal of two turbines, the developers have also reduced the height of the proposed structures, from 126.5m to 100m.

However, substantial concerns have remained in relation to the scheme, including from Scottish Natural Heritage and the council’s landscape architect, Jim Knight.

Mr Knight has stated that the development would have a ‘significantly higher impact on sensitive receptors’ than has been accepted in other areas of the Borders where wind farms have been permitted.

Referring to its impact in conjunction with other wind farms in Lauderdale and in the Lammermuirs, Mr Knight added: “The sequential cumulative impact would be a particular issue for the Southern Upland Way.”

Scottish Natural Heritage have raised concerns about the landscape and visual impact of the scheme, while the council’s access officer has stated that the turbines would ‘significantly diminish the visual experience of the Southern Upland Way’.

Neither the Ministry of Defence or the operators of the national air traffic control radar systems have objected.

But, concluding his report, planning officer Carlos Clarke states his recommendation for refusal, along with three reasons. These are the ‘adverse visual effect’ on the Southern Upland Way and Twin Law cairns, the ‘overbearing and dominant impact’ on nearby properties, and the ‘unacceptable cumulative impact’ of the scheme along with the Corsbie Moor proposal, which is subject to an appeal, and the existing Fallago Rig development.