Farmer blasts wind farm refusal but wants to ‘let the dust settle’

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THE farmer behind an application for a controversial wind turbine which was refused on Monday, says he has received messages of support to appeal.

But Jim Shanks, who aspired to build a single 74m high wind turbine at Standhill, near Denholm, in a bid to improve the running of his farm and create six new jobs, says he is unsure what to do next.

Speaking after Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee refused his application on the grounds that it would have an adverse affect on the landscape, contravene policy, and was rejected by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) – Mr Shanks stated: “All I can say is, I did my best. I’ve done everything to put my case over to councillors and been completely open and honest; there was nothing more I could have done.”

But describing his frustration with the situation, the angry cheese and dairy farmer added: “I expected this decision, even though a proposal for a wind farm in Berwickshire was passed immediately before me for bigger turbines. All we are doing is signing away our wind resources to big companies.”

However, the refusal of Mr Shanks’ application has been welcomed by local campaigners, the Minto Hills Conservation Group, with several members witnessing the ruling from the public gallery.

Group chairman David Walmsley told the Hawick News: “The Planning Committee is to be commended for standing its ground on what has been a hugely controversial proposal, and despite Scottish Government pressure to toe the SNP line on wind energy regardless of local people’s views.”

He added: “As we all know, and can see in Lauderdale and the Lammermuirs, once permission is granted for the first turbine in an area, the floodgates are opened for more.”

But Mr Shanks maintains his ambition was to bring innovation and investment to the area, adding: “I can be proud of what I tried to do, and I ‘ve got the potential to appeal it, but I simply don’t know. I’ve had a lot of support from people telling me to appeal, but I’m going to let the dust settle.”

n Wind farm job fears, page 11