Concerns voiced over size of wind turbines proposed near Bonchester Bridge

Opposition is mounting to plans to build a wind farm south of Bonchester Bridge.

Friday, 27th January 2017, 8:56 am
Updated Friday, 27th January 2017, 10:00 am
Philip Kerr in front of another target for development, Wauchope Forest, where 20 wind turbines are proposed.

Leeds-based Energiekontor UK has submitted plans for a wind farm on the Harwood Estate, and the proposed height of some of its 12 turbines is just one of the issues alarming villagers.

Seven of the turbines at Pines Burn will reach a height of 158.5m, and the other five will be 130m high.

Further issues raised centre on planned turbine traffic travelling through Hawick, allegedly inconsistent imagery displayed in the design briefs and the impact on the landscape.

Meanwhile, one by one, local community councils are considering the pros and cons of the project.

Last week, Hobkirk Community Council met and expressed unanimous opposition to the scheme.

Southdean Community Council followed suit this week, also voicing reservations.

Philip Kerr, the latter council’s chairman and also chairman of Chesters Wind Farm Action Group, has reservations about the scheme and the increasing numbers of similar applications local community councils are having to assess.

His deepest concern is about the 15-turbine Birneyknowe wind farm bid, also near Bonchester Bridge, which he describes as “a ghastly application that should have no hope of approval”.

He added: “Under new revised guidelines issued by Scottish Borders Council, Birneyknowe is wildly unsuitable. Birneyknowe is a dreadful application, and if that is agreed, it would be open season for all the other applications.

“Pines Burn is better situated, but there are still clearly issues, with disquiet at the route traffic will take, concern at the height of the turbines and the imagery in the design brief, with half the turbines coloured white and the rest a blander faded colour, making it difficult to assess visual impact. New guidelines suggest 120m is too high, and these turbines are between 130 and 158.5m.

“One other important thing is that the Pines Burn application will be considered in September or October, after the May elections, so it will come before a new planning committee.

“As part of our discussions, we will have to consider the impact on the landscape, the visual impact, the cumulative impact on residential properties and the impact of turbine lighting, in addition to the potential community benefits of the application and the shared-ownership issue.”

Energiekontor says the wind farm will generate enough electricity to power more than 22,000 houses.

The 624-hectare site is four miles from Bonchester Bridge and five miles from Hawick.