Roberton wind farm plan on view

A RENEWABLE energy company has arranged two public exhibitions of its plans for seven giant wind turbines at Barrel Law, two miles north of Roberton, writes Andrew Keddie.

The site, on open moorland between Ale Water and Ettrick Water, is just south of Langhope Rig where, in 2008, Airtricity was granted consent for 10 turbines by a Scottish Government reporter after its application had been rejected by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and attracted nearly 400 local objections.

SBC’s planning committee considered the Langhope Rig project, which has yet to be developed, would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape.

This week, Livingston-based ABO Wind UK said it intended formally submitting its plans for the Barrel Law wind farm to SBC “around the end of this year”.

The proposed generating capacity will be 21 megawatts, enough to meet the demands of 13,000 households, with access tracks being created from the B711 between Roberton and Alemoor Loch.

As part of its proposals, the firm is suggesting the establishment of a community trust fund to deliver more than £2million during the 25-year life of the wind farm, to be used for local community projects.

ABO’s project manager, Jenny Walsh, said this dividend was around £4,000 per generated megawatt per year and was about twice the going rate for community benefits disbursed by other renewable energy companies.

The site includes or adjoins four community council areas – Hawick, Ettrick and Yarrow, Lilliesleaf, Ashkirk and Midlem and Upper Teviotdale and Borthwick Water – and these bodies have this week been given advance notice of the planning application.

The exhibitions are being staged from noon till 8pm at Roberton Village Hall on Wednesday, September 21 and at Ashkirk Village Hall the following day. ABO has produced a series of photomontages to illustrate the view of the wind farm from key locations and these will form a central part of the exhibitions.

In addition, newsletters containing information on the wind farm have been sent out this week to more than 1,000 households in the area.

“The site is relatively isolated with good wind speeds and ease of access to the National Grid,” said Ms Walsh.