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Windy Edge Wind Farm

Scottish Borders, Infinis

OPEN was commissioned by Infinis in 2012 to undertake a landscape and visual assessment for a wind farm near Hermitage Castle and the village of Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders. This followed OPEN’s 2010 review of the landscape and visual feasibility of a wind farm on this site. The 2013 ES included a Residential Visual Amenity Survey carried out by OPEN for properties lying within 5km of the nearest turbine.

The site lies within an Upland character type with forestry influences, ie it is of a type considered suitable for wind farm development by SBC and SNH. A scheme of 17 turbines of two different heights, 111.5m and 121.5m to blade tip was originally submitted. The site is well contained by surrounding topography and therefore the Zone of theoretical visibility for the wind farm is relatively limited, however views from sensitive receptors such as local residences, public rights of way and Hermitage Castle were key considerations within the assessment.

In response to various environmental and technical constraints which emerged during the iterative layout design process, including landscape and visual considerations, the development was reduced in size to 9 turbines. Turbine locations were adjusted during this process and the subsequent effects were reassessed within an ES Addendum. In 2014 OPEN wrote Chapter 4 of the Addendum to the Environmental Statement (hereafter and prepared the associated visual materials to take account of these changes. It also provided a Revised Residential Visual Amenity Survey based on this layout. Following submission of the 2014 ES Addendum further comments were received from SBC and SNH in relation to the residual issues arising from the revised layout. Further to a review of these comments, and in consultation with SBC and SNH the Applicant decided to reduce the height of three turbines in order to address concerns regarding potential environmental impacts.

The assessment found that there will be no significant effects on landscape-related designated areas, or on any of the principal visual receptors that are included in the assessment, such as roads, visitor attractions and settlements. There will also be no significant cumulative effects on any landscape character receptors, viewpoints or principal visual receptors when the proposed development is added to a cumulative scenario of operational, under construction, consented or application stage wind farms. A major benefit which accrues from the siting of the wind farm in the Uplands, is that it would not significantly affect the amenity of any residential properties that are not financially involved.

SBC refused the application on landscape and visual as well as cultural heritage grounds in 2015. An appeal has subsequently been submitted by Infinis.