Lammermuir Hills wind farm approved at Fallago Rig

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Wind turbine
Image caption,
The Scottish government said hundreds of jobs would be created during construction

Energy Minister Jim Mather has approved a wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills despite a lengthy opposition campaign.

A total of 48-turbines can now be built by North British Wind Power at Fallago Rig in the Scottish Borders.

Opponents have claimed the decision "rides roughshod" over the opinions and concerns of the community.

Mr Mather said construction would create hundreds of jobs and would represent a "significant boost" to the local economy.

"Once up and running the wind farm is expected achieve a carbon saving of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year," he said.

"The local community are represented through the Tweed Forum, and a Fallago Rig environmental fund has been set up which will provide £240,000 each year of operation for local environmental improvements and sustainable development projects."

He said he had put in place a series of conditions to protect natural habitats and landscapes.

"It's encouraging to see constructive dialogue from all parties concerned and I am confident that Fallago Rig will be a centrepiece of Scotland's renewables legacy," he said.

"I am delighted the result has seen co-operation with all concerned, and I look forward to seeing it become a reality."

The development has been the subject of a campaign of opposition by the Say No To Fallago group.

Spokesman Mark Rowley questioned the job creation claims and also why the group had not been directly informed of the decision to approve the plans.

He added: "Not only will this wind farm blight the untouched core of a designated area of great landscape value, but its construction goes against the wishes of the local community, whatever the developers and Scottish government say.

"We are not going to give up this fight because it sets a precedent for landscapes all over the country.

"World-class landscapes are the sacrificial lambs in the Scottish government's attempts to meet self-imposed renewable targets."

BNWP has defended its site selection saying it is on one of the remotest parts of the Borders, on land already "degraded" by a "massive pylon line".

'Significant problems'

Chairman Christopher Wilkins said: "We are pleased that after two public inquiries, consent has been granted for our proposed 144MW wind farm at Fallago Rig in the Scottish Borders.

"We recently announced an agreement under which members of the EDF Group, one of the largest energy companies in Europe and a leading international player in the renewable energy sector, will invest in the wind farm and we now look forward to starting work on site very shortly."

Roxburgh and Berwickshire Tory MSP John Lamont said the process had highlighted "significant problems" in the way wind farm developments were handled.

"I hope that the Scottish government will learn lessons from this process in order to improve the integrity and efficiency with which decisions are made in the future," he said.

"The Scottish government needs a national strategy so that suitable sites for wind farms are identified in advance rather than having the current situation with speculative applications for inappropriate sites."

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