Public meeting lined up to discuss bid for biggest wind turbines in Borders

The village of Chesters, south of Bonchester Bridge.
The village of Chesters, south of Bonchester Bridge.

A public meeting will be held in Southdean Village Hall at Chesters next week to gauge local reaction to plans for 13 giant wind turbines at nearby Highlee Hill.

Organised by community councillors, the gathering, originally scheduled for this week, will take place on Wednesday, July 27, at 7pm.

It follows the submission to Scottish Borders Council of a planning application by Renewable Energy Systems for a wind farm next to Lustruther Farm.

The bid is unusual in that 11 of the proposed turbines would be 176m tall from base to blade tip – the tallest ever erected in the Borders and nearly three times higher than Edinburgh’s Scott Monument.

The application has already sparked an objection from Hugh Russell, of Cheviot House, just north of Carter Bar.

“The natural beauty of the area will be changed forever, and the effects on tourism, wildlife and traffic will hardly be beneficial to the southern Borders,” writes Mr Russell.

“In my opinion, it would be a catastrophic mistake if planning was consented.”

Further opposition to a wind farm bid is being offered by Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee.

This week, it reasserted its objections to plans for a wind farm near Tweedsmuir in Peeblesshire.

2020 Renewables has applied for consent for a 14-turbine development at Whitelaw Brae on land between Fruid Reservoir and the source of the River Tweed. Because the project will have a generating capacity of more than 50mw, permission is in the gift of Scottish ministers, with the council treated purely as a consultee in the process.

Last year, the committee agreed to object to the proposal claiming it would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape.

And on Monday, councillors unanimously endorsed that dissenting position.

The proposal for turbines up to 133m high had come back to the committee because the applicant had been required to submit further environmental information on its original plans to the Scottish Government’s energy consents and deployment unit.

However, the committee believed this extra information – and the repositioning of one of the proposed wind turbines – did not address the “significant environmental impacts” of the proposal of concern to members.