A RECOMMENDATION to refuse the construction of 10 wind turbines at 176.5m high near Langholm is going before the council today.
This is despite the fact that Muirhall Energy has received 20 letters of support and a number of statutory consultees have raised no objections.
The company was earlier granted permission to build 15 turbines at 149.9m high but asked to revise its plan.
The windfarm is 11km north west of Langholm and the Langholm Hills Regional Scenic Area lies about 2km to the north of the site. The nearest road runs from Paddockhole to Bailliehill, a single-track road.
The report says Muirhall has reported that windfarm developments have been hampered by the UK government’s decision to end all new subsidies for onshore windfarms.
The Scottish government’s energy strategy acknowledges the need for the onshore industry to be more realistic in its approach to the market, with discussion to be had on using larger turbines and increased tip heights, with a view to unlocking cost reduction potential.
Among the supporters are Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk and Eskdalemuir community councils and Langholm Christmas lights committee.
There were no objections from the council archaeologist, roads officer, flood risk management team leader or environmental health officer.
Scottish Water, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, the National Air Traffic Service, Ministry of Defence, Transport Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland or Police Scotland.
The council landscape architect has objected, saying the revision represents a sea change in terms of the degree of significant effect.
They had to take into account the effect on top of Ewe Hill, the consented Loganhead and Minsca, the impact on hill forts edging Eskdale, the archaeological trail, including adverse effects on the outlook and inter-visibility between the sites, the setting and scenic quality of Eskdale and the setting of the forts as landscape features.
The report says: “The landscape architect says the increased size of turbine and notably increased perceptible scale means the proposal would become a prominent skyline feature in Eskdale, particularly in the short to mid-range views from the landmark hill forts where the scheme would extend across the south-eastern horizon.”
It concludes: “The proposal is considered to represent a significant departure from the terms of the development plan in respect of the significant adverse impacts, including cumulative, which would arise on the landscape and visual amenity of the site surroundings and wider area.
“It’s recognised that the proposal enjoys a level of community support and there would be some positive socio-economic benefits, together with a contribution towards the Scottish government’s renewable energy targets, and these are all material considerations which need to be taken into account.
“However, it is considered that the proposal is contrary to (the relevant) local development plan policies and other guidance and the material considerations set out above are not of such weight in combination to outweigh the primacy of the development plan.
“It is, therefore, recommended that the application be refused.”