Scottish ministers back extension of a windfarm in the Lammermuir Hills
Scottish ministers have approved the extension of a windfarm in the Lammermuir Hills despite concerns it includes plans for turbines as ‘high as the towers of the new Queensferry Crossing’.
Scottish Reporters Karen Heywood and Andrew Sikes have overturned Scottish Borders Council’s refusal for a further 11 wind turbines at Crystal Rig windfarm, a decision which has now been rubber-stamped by Scottish ministers.
The move will see four turbines up to 149.9m high to tip, three turbines 174.5m high to tip, and a further four 200m high to tip.
The original application was refused as it was deemed contrary to the council’s Local Development Plan in that the visual impact of red aviation lights fitted to the nacelles of seven of the eleven turbines “would introduce lighting, whose purpose is to draw
attention to the development, with an industrial appearance which would be incongruous and visible from a considerable distance from the development.”
It was thought the extension was “incompatible” to the Lammermuir Hills Special Landscape Area by “industrialising the dark rural environment”.
But the reporters concluded that the proposed development attracts considerable
support from current UK and Scottish Government energy policy and international agreements and would make a “meaningful contribution towards meeting UK and Scotland’s renewable energy and emissions reduction targets”.
The reporters conclude: “The proposed development would comply with the
adopted local development plans for each council area; the presence of 145 operational turbines has irretrievably altered the landscape character of the area. While the proposed development would give rise to some adverse effects, within this context, the predicted effects would not be unacceptable; the proposed visible aviation lighting scheme has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and complies with the current international and UK regulatory framework; the proposed aviation lights would give rise to some significant effects when seen from certain
viewpoints, however, the likelihood of people being present at the viewpoints at night is low and the transient nature of the views when moving through the landscape would result in the effects of the proposed lights being experienced for a short time only; very few people would be affected by visibility of the aviation lights to a significant extent, including those living in the small number of residential properties located within, or just beyond, the three kilometre study area.”