I applaud Scottish Borders Council for taking into account the views of a large number of Borders residents who think the area is at saturation point for wind farms (“Claims SBC pressurised on turbines”, Southern, November 8).
The council has put in place carefully thought-out planning guidance on wind farms, including a Landscape Character Assessment (which not all local authorities have done) to aid proper decision-making.
SBC’s current planning guidance was drawn up in consultation with the Scottish Government, as it must be, and it is fully supportive of wind farms, provided they are properly sited. Its commitment to this is clear from the number of wind farms and wind turbines already operating in the Borders, which is greater than almost any other area of Scotland. And about the same number again are in the planning process.
The Scottish Government’s target now is for Scotland to produce 100 per cent equivalent of our electricity use from renewables by 2020. But the Borders already produces from wind some nine times the amount of electricity required by the region’s households.
So far we have only seen the tip of the iceberg – 1,000 turbines are now operational or in the pipeline in the Borders alone – and many of these new turbines are more than twice the height of those on Soutra.
So it is clear that the Borders is being targeted for wind farm development because of its proximity to the Central Belt and indeed the north of England, and because of its undulating hills and relatively low population. Our planners are inundated with applications, and no doubt developers consider that sheer pressure of work may lead to difficulty in scrutinising applications properly.
We are the people who have to live with these wind farms, and politicians would be wise to take note that many voters in the Borders think the countryside – our biggest asset – is at saturation point.