Turbine firm’s pledge over ride-outs

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A PROPOSED wind farm between Hawick and Bonchster which will potentially share land with three of the Cornet’s ride-outs, could be switched off in order to accommodate the horses.

That was one of the assurances given at a meeting of Hawick Community Council on Tuesday night during a presentation by representatives of Banks Renewables on its plans to erect up to 19 turbines at Birneyknowe – which will stand at 120 metres tall to the tip of their blades.

“We are right at the very beginning of looking at Birneyknowe as a potential project, and want to start talking to the community about the any local issues such as the ride-outs,” said development director Phil Dyke, in response to concern over the Common-Riding events raised by commmunity council chairman John Hope.

But Alistair Landles, development planner, gave a further guarantee, adding: “I think something could be arranged.”

The North East of England firm’s workers confirmed that they have already gained control of the area chosen for the project – on the edges of Kirkton and Hawthornside – with the land owners having been approached.

But Mr Dyke hinted that access to the area may prove controversial, stating: “We like the site and in terms of suitability, it has minor constraints and we have strong guidance that the landscape could be suitable for a well-designed scheme.

“But for a project such as this there are potential impacts and benefits. We have to look at transport to get turbines to the site and will be spending a bit of money looking at it.

“We think there will be a solution, but there will be impacts from that solution.”

Mr Dyke also pointed out that the company faces constraints imposed by the Ministry of Defence with a ban on turbines within 31 miles of the nuclear test monitoring station at Eskdalemuir.

But he stated: “The Eskdalemuir issue is a big issue, but we believe there are solutions in the pipeline.”

Early next year the company plans to submit a scoping report which will be sent to all consultees, asking which issues should be considered before they apply for planning permission.

Hawick-born development planner Mr Landles added: “It’s a good project, and we would like to see something which benefits the local community.”