Council's refusal of plans for 12-turbine wind farm overturned by Scottish ministers

Plans for a 12-turbine wind farm in the Scottish borders that were refused by the local authority have been given the go-ahead by ministers following an appeal.

Renewable energy developer Energiekontor UK applied for full permission in January 2017 for its 12-turbine Pines Burn wind farm on the Harwood Estate, 8km south-east of the town of Hawick.

The application, which proposes seven turbines up to 150 metres high and five turbines up to 130 metres high, was refused by Scottish Borders Council last November, against the advice of officers.

Members felt the development would have an adverse impact on the landscape's character and unacceptable impacts on nearby archaeological sites, including the scheduled monuments of Penchrise Pen fort and earthworks. Thus it would contravene policies in the Scottish Borders Local Development Plan, councillors decided.

But earlier this month, government-appointed reporter Malcolm Mahony overturned the refusal, finding that the project’s benefits outweighed any adverse impacts.

Concluding that the development would accord with the two local plan policies cited in the refusal, Mahony said: "It would have localised and limited impacts on landscape and visual amenity and on archaeological assets. Cumulative visual impacts would not be sufficient to reject the proposal."

He went on to say: "Evidence of significant adverse effects on tourism generally in this part of the Borders or specific tourism businesses is not persuasive. 

"Other potential impacts could be appropriately managed through planning conditions and other control regimes."

In addition, the development "would have some economic benefits", Mahony wrote, and "is supported by national policies for wind energy". 

He added: "Finally, but importantly, it would generate renewable energy and contribute to carbon emission reduction targets, thereby supporting the Scottish Government’s objectives for renewable energy and a low carbon economy." 


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