A united stand to halt wind rush

wind turbines
wind turbines
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Wind farms are considered the biggest threat to the Borders landscape by the newly formed Borders Network of Conservation Groups.

Groups from across the region are uniting and calling on the Scottish Government to halt the ‘wind rush’ and take stock.

The Renewable Energy Foundation has calculated that according to UK Government figures “there is sufficient renewable electricity generation capacity (18 GW) currently pending in the UK’s planning system to overshoot the 2020 target by approximately 50%. Chair of the new BNCG, John Williams, said: “The biggest threat to the Borders is coming from the rush to erect as many wind farms as possible before subsidies are reduced in 2017.

“Developers appear to have no concern for the devastating effect that increasing numbers of ever-larger wind turbines have on our landscape and communities.

“We will be concentrating our efforts on protecting the Borders in the face of this onslaught”.

Vice chair Mark Rowley, from Longformacus, added: “If the brakes are not applied now, the Borders will very soon become the Land of a Thousand Turbines.

“Our member groups believe that the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council should do all in their power to halt this ‘wind rush’ temporarily, to take stock.

“There are three good reasons for this: Scottish Government figures show renewable energy targets will be comfortably met by operating and consented wind farms and those currently in the planning system; many turbines which have received approval have yet to be built and their impact won’t be known until it is too late to save the landscape; wind turbines in the Borders already produce more than nine times as much electricity as our households need.”

Members of the group are due to meet Scottish Borders Council week and say other politicians and officials can expect to hear from them.

While the Borders Network of Conservation Groups fight the building of more wind turbines another Scotland wide group of volunteers (including Pauline Hood from Cockburnspath, Logan Inglis from Reston and Kym Bannerman from Grantshouse) have been working with Foundation Scotland to produce a charter on community benefit funds from onshore commercial wind farms.

Community funds in Scotland currently stand at around £7 million and are expected to triple by 2017.

The charter sets out: the minimum standards communities can expect from developers, local authorities and others in establishing and implementing community benefit funds; expected standards of governance and administration of community funds; and advice on how to spend the funds wisely.