Councillors vote to visit wind farm site

Turbines on the Berwickshire skyline
Turbines on the Berwickshire skyline

A site visit to the Fallago Rig wind farm is to be made by councillors before they decide whether or not to support plans to extend it.

A final decision on adding 12 turbines at the Lammermuir Hills site, plus extending the lifespan of the existing 48 turbines by five years, will be made by the Scottish Government’s energy consents department, but Scottish Borders Council is among a number of consultees being asked for their views.

East Lothian Council opposed the original building of a wind farm at Fallago and continues to oppose the current application.

Scottish Borders Council also opposed the initial wind farm, approved by the Scottish Government, but this time around its councillors are being recommended by their planning officers to support the extension.

At Monday’s planning meeting, though, members unanimously agreed that they need to have a site visit first before reaching a decision on Monday, November 7.

Three community councils – at Lammermuir and Lauderdale, plus Gordon and Westruther – oppose the plans, as does Berwickshire Civic Society, but some local businesses support it.

After the planning committee decided on a site visit, Lammermuir Community Council chairman Mark Rowley said: “Since their last visit Aikengall II’s 145m turbines have been constructed, as have the wind farms at Crystal Rig III and Penmanshiel.

“While we warmly welcome the enthusiasm and commitment of the members of the planning committee to visit the area and see what our residents see daily, a key concern remains the quality of advice they are being offered in the report, which recommends they support the re-consent of Fallago Rig 1 and the consent of an additional wind farm at Fallago Rig 2.”

Prior to the meeting wind farm operator EDF’s head of onshore wind development, Tony Scorer, said: “The extension of Fallago Rig will contribute to the council’s targets for inward investment, jobs supported and renewable energy as set out in its economic development strategy.”

Landowner Roxburghe Estates’ Roddy Jackson, wrote to all councillors on behalf of the estate prior to this week’s meeting, saying: “We have worked hard with EDF and council officers to ensure that the proposals are sensitive to local residents and to the landscape of the Lammermuirs.

“We think we have achieved our aim of delivering additional renewable energy capacity in a way that doesn’t impact unduly on local residents.”