Quixwood wind farm application submitted

a PLANNING application has been submitted for 14 wind turbines to be erected at Quixwood Farm, between Grantshouse and Abbey St Bathans, after the developers held public exhibitions and a face-to-face survey, gathering support from 42 per cent of the 118 people questioned.

Banks Renewables finally put in their application to Scottish Borders Council last week, having reduced the number of 126 metre turbines from 19 to 14 which it is estimated will meet the annual power requirements of around 21,700 homes.

When Scottish Borders Council updated its wind farm guidance document earlier this year it said: “It should be noted Scottish Borders Council has raised concerns regarding the cumulative impact of turbines within the Lammermuir Hills.”

When they held exhibitions in May and June this year to explain to people what was being proposed Banks Renewables said afterwards that of those who commented (15), 10 were positive and three were negative; and following a house-to-house survey during which 118 people were questioned, they received support for the wind farm from 42 per cent of them, 33 per cent were against and 25 per cent undecided. Of those who were against the wind farm the majority gave their reason being because there were already too many wind turbines in the Borders area.

SBC councillors are aware of “the major concerns regarding the increasing number of wind farm proposals in the Scottish Borders and the increasing size of individual turbines”.

Their new guidance is being used to decide on wind farm applications that come to them for approval, but despite the council’s measures being in line with national guidance, the Scottish Government has overturned a number of decisions by local councillors when planning permission has been refused.

After being re-appointed as First Minister in May this year Alex Salmond said of their energy plans: “Because the pace of development has been so rapid, with our 2011 target already exceeded, we can now commit to generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020. By then we intend to be generating twice as much electricity as Scotland needs - just over half of it from renewables, and just under half from other conventional sources.

“We will be exporting as much electricity as we consume. So we will continue to work with industry and governments at local, UK and European level to build on what we have achieved.

“We will now move still further and faster to secure our place as the green energy powerhouse of the continent of Europe.”

Among the information submitted to Scottish Borders Council by Banks Renewables is the proposed construction routes up to Quixwood Moor - off the A1 at Grantshouse onto the A6112 then turning off at Drakemyre to head up to Moorhouse and Quixwood; or alternatively along the Chirnside to Preston Road via Auchencrow when suitable for certain loads.

A number of alternative National Grid connection routes have also been put forward: two different over-land routes to Eccles substation, plus an underground route to it; the other option being both an overland and underground route to Berwick sub-station.

Banks Renewables say that around 55 people would be working on site during construction of the £43 million Quixwood Moor project, and if it goes ahead, local firms would be able to tender for related contracts worth up to £7 million.