Community council sounded out about potential new wind farm

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PLANS have been revealed for a wind farm south of Hawick.

Banks Renewables is looking into the possibility of erecting 14 turbines at Birneyknowe, which is six kilometres from the town and two kilometres from Bonchester Bridge.

The proposed location for the scheme lies in a designated ‘area of search’ for wind farm development that has been identified within local planning guidance.

The matter was raised at Hawick Community Council on Tuesday night when it was agreed to invite a representative from the company to the next meeting to explain the proposals.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “Taking a consultative, inclusive approach is central to the way in which Banks operates, and we are planning to give an initial presentation about our proposals to Hawick Community Council in the near future, which will be followed by further meetings with the other community councils in the area to help ensure that community representatives are fully informed about our proposals.”

Mr Dowdall stressed that the plans are at a very early stage and a full public engagement programme will be carried out in the coming months, which will provide opportunities for local people and all other interested parties to find out more about the wind farm proposal.

He added: “This programme will include providing information on the benefits fund that would run alongside the wind farm, should it be approved, which would offer substantial funding for local community groups, and environmental and voluntary projects during the lifetime of the scheme.

“The fund would be designed to provide tangible, long-term benefits for the local area from Banks’ presence there, and during our public consultation process, we will be looking to gather ideas from local people about how they think this fund might best be allocated in order to derive the maximum benefits for their community.”

The latest wind farm plan comes hot on the heels of similar projects identified at Barrel Law, Windy Edge, Chesters Hill and Craik.

Local councillor Ron Smith said: “They [wind farms] are starting to creep into this area more and more. Complaints have certainly been made that developers are ignoring the views of the community and that’s come on forcefully with the Hermitage proposals, so if someone from the company wants to come and speak to the community council I think it should be welcomed.”