THE Ministry of Defence has objected to the proposed windfarm at Faw Side in the Ewes Valley because of the “unacceptable” impact on its seismological recording station in Eskdalemuir.
The UK has an obligation to carry out seismological monitoring under an international treaty to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The objection is based on a proposal by Community Windpower Ltd of Cheshire for 45 turbines, 40 of which are 200m high from ground level to blade tip and five turbines of 179.50m.
The turbines are about 12.8km from the seismological recording station at Eskdalemuir and fall within the MoD’s statutory safeguarded area.
The report said: “Scientific research has established that wind turbines of current design generate noise emissions which cause seismic vibrations which can interfere with the effective operation of the array.
“To ensure the UK can continue to implement its obligations in maintaining the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a noise budget has been allocated to regulate the development of wind turbines within a 50km radius of the array.
“The budget has been set at 0.336nm rms. and it has been reached.
“The MoD must object to this application because of the unacceptable impact the windfarm would have on the station.
“If the developer can overcome these issues, the MoD will request that all turbines be fitted with MoD accredited aviation safety lighting in accordance with the Civil Aviation Authority, Air Navigation Order 2016.
“MoD Safeguarding wants to be consulted and notified about the progress of planning applications and submissions relating to this plan to verify it will not adversely affect defence interests.”
In its comments, VisitScotland says: “Our response focuses on the crucial importance of tourism to Scotland’s local and national economy and of the natural landscape for visitors.
“We would strongly recommend any potential detrimental impact of the proposed development on tourism – visually, environmentally and economically ‐ be identified and considered in full.
“We strongly agree with the advice of the Scottish government that the importance of tourism impact statements should not be diminished and, for each site considered, an independent tourism impact assessment be done.
“This assessment should be geographically sensitive and consider the potential impact on any tourism offerings in the vicinity.”
The Galloway Fisheries Trust, which does work on the Border Esk, said its comments included those from the Esk & Liddle Improvements Association.
Overall, it was very pleased with the level of detail presented in the environmental impact assessment report, particularly on embedded mitigation.
“All mitigation measures must be adequately monitored during construction and it is imperative that remedial measures are carried out as soon as any problems or breaches in the mitigation have been identified.
“Fish are an important ecological feature in tributaries of the Border Esk which lie within the development boundary.
“Three fisheries survey sites contained juvenile salmon in the 2018 electrofishing survey.
“We are pleased the windfarm design has taken account of watercourse crossings and they have been kept to a minimum. Only one planned watercourse crossing lies on a tributary of the Border Esk.
“If this development is consented, appropriate monitoring of fish populations must take place before, during and after construction to identify and monitor any potential impacts on fish populations within and downstream of the development.
“It is imperative that the ecological clerk of works is familiar with the mitigation required to safeguard fish populations and their habitats and is experienced in such work.
“They should have powers to halt construction works if they note that the plans and/or the construction environmental management plan is being breached and/or there is imminent threat to the watercourses.”