South Scotland

Cockburnspath wind turbine legal challenge fails

Wind turbine Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The challenge to the wind turbines in the Borders failed

A legal challenge to plans for two 110-metre wind turbines at a Borders beauty spot has been rejected by a judge.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh was told that the appeal, raised in the name of objector Sally Carroll, was the first of its type in Scotland.

It was taken against the Local Review Body of Scottish Borders Council.

It gave the project at Cockburnspath the go-ahead despite expert advice to the contrary but a judge ruled it was entitled to do so.

Lord Armstrong was told the site was on coastal farmland which was considered to be "highly sensitive".

It is near the Berwickshire Coast and Lammermuir Hills Special Landscape Areas and the Southern Upland Way.

There are also two conservation areas close by.

'Material considerations'

There have been three previous attempts to get planning permission for the wind turbines, going back to September 2010.

Current planning rules provide for a local authority to appoint someone - normally a planning officer - to examine the proposals.

The legislation also provides for a review of any decision by a local review body, which has wide discretion.

The objectors claimed that in this case there had been a failure to take into account "material considerations" and that the interpretation of relevant planning policies had not been properly carried out.

In his written ruling, Lord Armstrong said he had some sympathy for Ms Carroll who clearly felt strongly about the decision and its effect on her local community.

But, said the judge, it was ultimately a question of planning judgement.

Lord Armstrong said he was only there to determine the legality of the decision making process, not the arguments for and against the wind turbines.

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