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News | 4th June 2020
 

Giant windfarm plan faces more opposition

Energy company steps up bid to secure government consent

 
 
 

A WINDFARM developer with plans to build 45 huge turbines in the Ewes valley has taken another step in its application for consent from the Scottish government.

Community Windpower Ltd, based in Edinburgh, is seeking consent to build and operate the controversial Faw Side.

Forty of the turbines will be 200m high and five will be 179.5m high and will run from Ewes to Teviothead and across to Bentpath.

There has been a huge amount of opposition in Ewes and a community action group was set up to contest the application. There has also been some support.

Last year Scottish Borders Council objected because of the impact on the landscape, archaeology and ecology.

It also wanted assurances over the protection of defence interests through the Eskdalemuir seismological monitoring station.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has requested an extension until June 30.

The access to the site would be from the A7, managed by Transport Scotland.

In January the agency said the drawings for the junction were insufficiently detailed to allow full consideration to be given to the access construction.

It could not, therefore, make a final comment on the overall application.

It wanted the developer to move the gatehouse further back from the junction to prevent vehicles queuing back onto the trunk road.

It also remained to be satisfied that the rest of the abnormal loads delivery route was feasible.

It was concerned about the route through Hawick and the potential difficulty in transporting a 75m blade through known pinch-points.

The agency said: “There is no certainty that we will be able to agree to the transportation of the proposed blade length of 75m.”

In January the Scottish Environment Protection Agency sought more information about private water supplies, ecology, micro-siting, peat, watercourse crossings, borrow pits, forestry waste and pollution prevention and environmental management.

It said: “This is needed to fully characterise the likely environmental effects associated with developing the windfarm.

“We maintain our objection to the application on grounds of lack of information and will review this if the issues are adequately addressed.”

It said it had no objection to the work on flood risk grounds and would support a planning condition that the company employ an ecological clerk of works.

The Faw Side community group says the windfarm is “completely inappropriate”.

It will industrialise a beautiful and valuable rural environment and there are plans to turn the area into a destination for tourism, including eco-tourism. These crucial plans will be devastated.

Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council has objected on the grounds of safety, water supplies and flooding, noise, tourism and economic regeneration, the MoD seismological monitoring station and nature and biodiversity.

It said: “These objections are based on concerns which have been raised by the residents, organisations and businesses we represent.

“Through the scoping stage and public events this developer has been unable to satisfy us that these areas for objection will not negatively affect our area, landscape, residents, safety and our fragile economy.”

Community Windpower is required to go straight to the Scottish government for consent rather than Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders councils because it will generate more than 50MW. It will generate 315MW.

The company has submitted its environmental impact assessment, along with additional information which includes ornithology, bats, cultural heritage, matters relating to peat management and peat slide risk, aviation and night-time lighting, landscape and visual updates, an outline construction environmental management plan and outline habitat management plan.

It was asked to provide additional information by the government’s Energy Consents Unit (ECU) after the formal consultation with statutory and non-statutory consultees. This has now been formally submitted.

It also includes minor modifications made to the access tracks onsite.

The deadline for comments is Monday, July 6 and all the details are on page 11 in today’s edition of the E&L Advertiser.

Gillian Cropper, projects director, said: “We’ve spent 12 months diligently consulting the relevant consultees and over the last few months have prepared the additional information to ensure it fulfils all aspects of the request from the ECU.

“This has been formally submitted and we hope the windfarm is now one step closer to a positive decision, helping deliver the government’s net zero target by 2045.

“The windfarm will provide clean, green energy to power 343,000 homes annually and offset more than 558,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

“It will financially benefit communities through a community benefit fund of £14m over its lifetime, which equates to £350,000 a year.

“Each community council would need its own trust fund to manage and administer the funding for its area.

“The windfarm will contribute £157m to the two councils through business rates during its operational lifetime.

“We have a buy Scottish policy so we’ll use Scottish firms, wherever possible, during the construction and its working life.

“We’ll give all relevant community councils copies of the submitted documents and attend their meetings once the current restrictions are lifted.”

All the information and reports are on its website www.fawsidewindfarm.scot and at www.energyconsents.scot), reference ECU00001833.

 
 
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