Go-ahead sought for hydroelectric project

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A PLANNING application has been submitted for the Borders’ first hydroelectric plant, at Murray’s Cauld on the Ettrick Water near Selkirk

The project, which will cost more than £1million, includes a fish pass, upgrading of a flow-control mechanism to the mill lade and formation of hard standing for maintenance.

Work began last month to repair the 165-year-old cauld ahead of the application by Sir Michael Strang Steel’s Philiphaugh estate. If it is successful, the project could be up and running by next year.

Selkirkshire councillor Kenneth Gunn said: “I am delighted. While I cannot influence the planning committee, I hope this is a step forward for the project.

“I support Michael Strang Steel and his interesting initiative which will benefit the Yarrow and Ettrick waters.”

Last month, Sir Michael said: “It is a very, very expensive project, but we are looking to the long term. The first priority is to sort out the cauld, which we believe was constructed in 1846. It has done not badly to last so long, but it now needs to be repaired.”

It is expected work on the cauld will be completed this year, with Scottish Borders Council due to decide on the planning application by mid-September.