More turbines on horizon?

IT’s become something of a regular occurance for Berwickshire and now yet another application is in the offing for a windfarm in the area, this time concerning the siting of seven 125 metre turbines between Reston and Ayton.

The company responsible for the latest proposals are Dunfermline-based ENERTRAG Ltd and this week they have announced their intention to undertake a detailed consultation with the local community about their plans for the windfarm between Cairncross and Little Dean which they say could generate sufficient electricity to power more than 10,000 homes – equivalent to almost one fifth of all homes in the Scottish Borders.

If approved, the proposals will be accompanied by a community benefit package, the details of which will also be determined in close consultation with members of the local community over the coming months.

Aside from input on the potential use of community benefits, the developers are also seeking views on the design and lay-out of the wind farm itself. The site, which is currently farmland, is located to the north of the A1, north-west of of Ayton and north-east of neighbouring Reston.

ENERTRAG have confirmed they will hold a number of consultation events in the local area over the coming months, providing the local community with the opportunity to view the proposals in greater detail and to give their feedback.

The company will also be providing a dedicated project website that will provide information and news on the proposal. It also plans to set up a dedicated liaison forum, involving local community representatives in discussions around the design and allocation of community benefit.

The developers have a bit of work to do to convince some residents who have already held a meeting to decide how to move forward with their opposition.

The proposed windfarm site lies close to a small housing development at Whitfield and worried homeowners gathered on Tuesday evening to air their concerns.

Among them was Rene Richardson who said the turbines would have a big impact on both residents and the local environment.

She commented: “The visual impact of these huge turbines is equivalent to two Scots monuments on top of each other; they’ll take up a lot of the skyline, to the detriment of the wonderful landscape we have here.

“This will have a knock on effect for the people who live close to the windfarm and the surrounding villages as well as the many local businesses in the vicinity. There are a number of B&Bs, holiday cottages and art studios lying close to the proposed site and it is also used by walkers, cyclists and field sportsman.”

Rene said that one of the major issues raised at Tuesday night’s meeting was the site’s close proximity to the already troublesome A1 junction at Ayton.

She continued: “If given the go-ahead the turbines will only be 150m from the A1. They will be to the left of the junction at Ayton, a junction which has already caused a lot of concern.

“Having a windfarm close by certainly won’t help matters and will only be an added distraction for drivers.

“This is the wrong location for a windfarm and in our opinion it’s badly thought out.”

Responding to these concerns, ENERTRAG’s project manager Carolynne Sutherland said: “We are at the very beginning of a lengthy process of community engagement, which will include events where people can come along and express their views to us.

“It’s only by hearing people’s opinions that we can adjust our proposals where possible and we encourage open and frank dialogue.”

“We look forward to having detailed discussions with residents and local groups in and around Ayton and Reston over the coming months.