Viewing of Highlee Hill turbine plans

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Southdean Community Council is hoping for a high turn out at an open meeting from 11am to 8pm today (Thursday) to view plans for 13 wind turbines at nearby Highlee Hill.

While the council members agree that wind farms have to form part of the answer to Scotland’s quest for sustainable sources of energy, the country already has more than half of all the UK’s onshore turbines.

At the moment, Southdean Community Council and the adjoining community council areas are considering planning consent or scoping for 139 turbines.

Today, the developer RES, is holding an open meeting at Southdean Hall to display their plans for the 13 turbines at Highlee Hill. The community council is hoping that as many people as possible will take advantage of this opportunity to look at the developer’s displays and ask questions about the impact on the local area.

Chesters village’s outlook is directly onto this site and campaigners against more turbines for this part of the Borders claim the setting of the village will be permanently changed.

The planning is for 13 turbines, each of which will be up to 176 metres high (for reference the highest turbines at Soutra are 75 metres high).

Medium intensity aviation warning lights are mandatory on structures over 150 metres high. The blade tips would be considered to be the top of the structures and would therefore all be illuminated.

There are concerns about noise during construction of the wind farm, and also during its operation. There are also concerns about access routes for abnormal loads and HGVs.

Financial benefits will be offered to the local community, although the community council says those figures are not yet established. However, a £200 discount on an annual electricity bill for certain properties has already been suggested, plus investment in the local economy.

“The community will have many views, both for and against the development, and whatever yours is, it is important that you come along and get as much information as possible,” said the community council this week.

RES had originally hoped to erect 37 turbines on the site but later revised this downwards to 13. RES says it has had initial discussions with the local community and that its planning application for Highlee Hill Wind Farm is expected to be ready for submission in early 2016.