SCOTTISH Government ministers have rejected plans to build a “community” wind farm near the English Border.

Proposals for a 45-turbine site straddling Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders were elevated to Government level in October 2021, and have now been rejected following an inquiry.

In May 2019, Cheshire-based Community Windpower Ltd first applied to construct the Faw Side wind farm near Langholm, but the plans were met with numerous objections including from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

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HES said the farm would have detrimental impact on the integrity of the setting of Roman-era Eweslees Watch Tower, while the MoD raised concerns about the impact on the nearby Eskdalemuir Seismological Recording Station and Array.

The array is a seismological monitoring station which forms part of the UK's obligations under a treaty banning nuclear tests. The Scottish Government's website states: "The array's operation can be compromised by excessive seismic noise in the vicinity, which is proven to be produced by wind turbines operating within a 50 km consultation zone around the array."

Both Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders councils also objected to the development.

Officers at the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division recommended the plans be rejected, and ministers agreed.

A letter informing Community Windpower Ltd managing director Rod Wood of the decision reads says ministers believed “the significant adverse landscape and visual effects, effects on residential visual amenity and impacts on defence interests at Eskdalemuir would not be acceptable”.

It goes on: “The Scottish Ministers therefore consider the Application for consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for the construction and operation of Faw Side Community Wind Farm, located within the council areas of Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council, should be refused.”

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Community Windpower Ltd had said that the 45-turbine farm would “contribute significant financial benefit to the local communities through a community benefit fund of £14m over its lifetime, which equates to £350,000 every year”.

The firm also claimed the farm would “contribute £157m to the Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Councils through business rates, during its operational lifetime”.

Of the proposed turbines, 13 would have been in the Borders and 32 in Dumfries and Galloway.

Wood said: "We are obviously disappointed with this decision. However, we are taking time to review the reports and decision.

"Nonetheless, we remain committed to Scotland's renewable energy industry, businesses and supply chains."