Council objects to 200m wind turbines

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Local Democracy Reporting Service

Fred Olsen Renewables wants to add 11 more turbines at Crystal Rig, bringing the total number of turbines at the site up to 102.

The turbines will be at least 149m tall, several measuring 200m, and seven of the taller turbines will need red aviation lights fitted for safety.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee was asked for a response to the Scottish Government, which is also seeking the opinion of East Lothian Council as the site straddles the two local authority areas.

Due to the impact of the lights on the area at night, council planning officers asked the committee, which met on Monday, April 29, to formally object to the plans.

Outlining the recommendation to councillors, the local authority’s principal planning officer Barry Fotheringham said: “Seven of the eleven turbines are required to be fitted with civil aviation warning lights. This lighting would introduce a new landscape and visual element which does not exist at this wind farm.

“Turbine lighting has the potential to affect the experience of people travelling on roads and paths from the eastern and across to the central Borders when a cluster of industrial red lights would appear in elevated positions.

“The merits of the application have been considered against relevant provisions of the development plan and the requirements of the Electricity Act, and the demonstrable harm caused by introduction of turbine lighting is considered to outweigh the benefits this scheme may bring.”

Councillor Simon Mountford said: “Because the principal of wind turbines on the site has already been established, the only thing we can really object to is the aviation lights, which will transform the night-time landscape into an industrial landscape which is unacceptable.”

Councillor Sandy Aitchison said: “If the turbines were lowered, then they wouldn’t need the aviation lights. It is the height, and therefore the lights, that is the issue.”

East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing, added: “It’s not ideal that we’ve got these aviation lights in the night sky, but it’s a price to pay for meeting our renewable energy targets.”

Councillor Laing was outvoted and the council’s objection will be passed to the Scottish Government, ministers making the final decision.