A series of objections have been lodged by the Ministry of Defence to a
proposed wind farm close to Hermitage Castle.

In a letter to Scottish Borders Council, the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure
Organisation, which deals with consultations on wind farms, said the effect
of the turbines on air traffic control radar, nuclear test detection
equipment and low flying would be unacceptable.

While the first two are regularly behind MoD objections to wind farms in
the Borders, the latter is cited less often.

In the consultation response Claire Duddy from the MoD said: “The turbines
will be within the overlapping low flying areas of 13 and 20T where flight
as low as 100ft is authorised. In conjunction with operations at RAF
Spadeadam, aircraft are responding to air defence threat systems and the
addition of turbines in this location is a flight safety hazard as well as
compromising the ability to train.

“This type of training is not available anywhere else in the United Kingdom.”

Malcolm McGregor, chairman of the Hermitage Action Group, which opposes the
scheme, said: “The range of consultees objecting is quite staggering, and
it makes you wonder why Infinis selected this location in the first place.”

However, Mr McGregor added: “We realise we cannot afford to be complacent,
but you would hope that someone at Infinis is looking at this and weighing
up if they are flogging a dead horse.”

The MoD’s response is yet another blow to developer Infinis, who is seeking
to build 17 turbines, up to 121.5m high, at Windy Edge.

Last month, The Southern reported that Historic Scotland had objected to
the plans.

In their consultation response, the agency said: “We have strong concerns
that the proposed wind farm would have a significant adverse impact on the
setting of Hermitage Castle.”

Infinis did not respond to a request for a comment on the MoD’s position.

This week, Scottish Borders Council also rejected proposals for a
nine-turbine scheme at Shawpark, near Stow.

At the planning committee meeting on Monday, councillors were at pains to
consider the impact on views across Lauder Common. They were also mindful
of the added visual effect given the development of the Borders Railway.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne said the scheme was “not well contained”, a
view supported by Councillor Jim Fullarton.

He commented that in his opinion the artist’s impressions of the turbines
in the landscape showed the “industrialisation of our Borders countryside”.

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