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THE number of wind turbines planned for Birneyknowe has been increased.

The original proposal, by Hamilton-based Banks Renewables, was for a 14-turbine wind farm near Bonchester Bridge.

But this week the company announced that, if it is successful in getting planning consent from Scottish Borders Council for an 80-metre-high testing mast at the site, the data collected will “shape designs for a wind farm of up to 20 turbines”.

Such a development would, claims Banks, generate up to 68MW, enough to meet the electricity needs of 38,000 homes. At that scale of generation, its appropriateness in that location would be determined, not by SBC, whose views would merely be consultative, but by the Scottish Government.

Phil Duke, the company’s development director, said: “The wind mast is a slender and unobtrusive structure, but the information it collects will help us build up the most detailed possible picture of wind speeds at this location and is thus an essential part of the overall process.

“Out philosophy of development with care is fundamental to what we do and we have already had constructive discussions with two local community councils [Hawick and Hobkirk] and, moving forward, we will be looking to hear from as many local people as possible.”