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Politician rejects windfarm plan

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By Euan Maxwell
Politician rejects windfarm plan
OBJECTION . . . MP David Mundell (right) at an exhibition held by local group Save Our Hills last month

DUMFRIESSHIRE MP David Mundell has formally objected to the Scoop Hill windfarm bid.

Urging ministers to reject the controversial plans in a letter to the Scottish Government, he stated the project “could not be anything other than damaging” to the environment and tourism in Annandale “no matter what other incentives are on offer”.

If approved, 75 turbines up to 250 metres high would be sited across 22 square miles between Eskdalemuir, Boreland and Moffat. At 525 megawatts, it would have the greatest installed capacity of any windfarm in the UK.

Whilst stating his support for climate targets and recognising the contribution Scoop Hill could make towards that, Mr Mundell stressed that “other considerations” must be made upon deciding whether to give proposals the go-ahead.

He said: “Over recent years there has been considerable focus on windfarm development in Annandale, with 1000 wind turbines already located within the area.

“The sheer scale of the proposed development would ensure that the turbines would be visible from Moffat, Beattock, Lockerbie and Lochmaben, many smaller villages and communities and the M74, making a lasting and negative impact on the landscape of Mid and Upper Annandale.”

The MP highlighted the existing number of windfarms already visible along the M74, which he said have already had a “profound and negative effect on this travel corridor”, adding that the addition of Scoop Hill would “only further add to this damaging visual impact”.

And he also took the opportunity to direct ministers’ attention to formal objections lodged by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Air Traffic Services and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation about the impact on Golden Eagles, RADAR operations and the Eskdalemuir Seismological Recording Station.

Summarising, Mr Mundell said the new windfarm would “unalterably change the nature of the currently unspoiled hillside and threaten the habitat of, in particular, rare birds of prey”.