Impact of two wind farms just too great

Proposed windfarm site at Hornburn, near Ayton. Picture by Tony Meikle.
Proposed windfarm site at Hornburn, near Ayton. Picture by Tony Meikle.

Two Berwickshire based wind farms have been refused planning consent by Government Reporters and a decision on two others is imminent.

Scottish Government Reporters refused to allow a nine turbine wind farm at Corsbie Moor, Westruther, and also turned down a 10 turbine wind farm at Hornburn, Ayton.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee legal adviser, Nuala McKinlay, said of the outcome: “It endorses the decisions this committee rightly took and further ratified the crucial work officers have taken in preparing those reports.

“It is gratifying that their work has been recognised.”

Mrs McKinlay anticipates that appeal decisions on Penmanshiel and Blackburn wind farms in eastern Berwickshire are also likely within the ‘next two weeks or so’.

The Corsbie Moor windfarm had been turned down by Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee; but developers of the Hornburn wind farm, Energiekontor had grown impatient when SBC failed to make a decision and turned to the appeal process, by-passing the council altogether.

Turning down the Corsbie Moor wind farm appeal by E.ON Climate and Renewables UK Developments Ltd, Reporter Trevor Croft said there were two aspects that couldn’t be mitigated: “One is the height of the turbines, which would give the wind farm a prominence that may not have been so significant with a lesser height. Secondly the location within a quadrant of the landscape, as centred on Twin Law Cairns, that presently, for practical purposes, is devoid of turbines but where there are already major wind farm developments in the other three quadrants, resulting in an all round wind farm dominated landscape.

Reporter David A Russell, hearing the Energiekontor UK Ltd appeal against the failure by Scottish Borders Council to issue a decision on the 10 wind turbines proposed at Hornburn, concluded: “I am satisfied that, in this case, the unacceptable landscape and visual impacts of the proposal would not be outweighed by the environmental and economic benefits which would be secured by the development.

“In these circumstances, and even if there were found to be no other unacceptable impacts, including cumulative impacts, the effect on Ministry of Defence radar performance, and the impacts on the amenity of nearby residents, I conclude that this proposal would not be in accordance overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan.”

Scottish Borders Council asked for their appeal expenses to be paid by EnergieKontor. However, this was turned down, the Reporter concluding that EnergieKontor had a right to appeal against the council’s failure to determine the application within the statutory timescale.