IT was standing room only at Ayton Village Hall last week when the ‘Oppose Blackmains’ campaign called a meeting of local residents to discuss the proposed seven turbine wind farm.
The general tone of the meeting was concern about “the advancing tide of large commercial wind turbines blighting the area”.
Local MSPs John Lamont and Paul Wheelhouse spoke of their own concerns regarding these two lowland developments and echoed the concerns expressed recently by Scottish Borders Council regarding the growing cumulative impact on the area. An ‘Oppose Blackmains’ spokesman said: “When we launched this campaign in September 2011 our contention was that Blackmains represented a new move by developers, who having targeted sparsely populated landscapes, were now targeting rich arable, lowland sites within 750 metres of residential communities. If we did not oppose the Blackmains development we believed it would open the floodgates for similar applications.
“Unfortunately, we have already been proved right in this assessment, with another proposed development at nearby Horn Burn emerging just a few months later, which would see Ayton ringed by turbines over 100 metres tall. Should these two most inappropriate schemes be allowed, then we will likely see similar large turbines in fields all the way to Duns and beyond.”
Oppose Blackmains successfully opposed the planning application for a meteorological mast at Horn Burn, and has continuously lobbied SBC’s planning department, local politicians, and community councils as well as meeting with developers. “We are confident that we can successfully oppose both Blackmains and Horn Burn on sound planning grounds, given that the chosen sites are inappropriately set in a lowland landscape with high visibility close to the A1 and communities. “We are also pressing for the Scottish Government to be responsible in protecting communities from large scale wind turbine developments.”
The Oppose Blackmains group was formed in June 2011 to fight the proposed development by Enertrag of seven 125 metre turbines running along the north side of the A1 between Reston and Ayton. Since then 27 wind turbines have been or are being constructed within a four mile radius of Coldingham, Reston and Ayton and another 13 wind turbines are planned between Ayton and Reston at Blackmains and Horn Burn, up to 130 metres in height.