Plans move forward for potential wind scheme

Hopsrig Wind Farm Ltd, a company wholly owned by Buccleuch, has developed proposals for a windfarm at Hopsrig on the Borders Estate.

The site, which is identified by Dumfries and Galloway Council as an ‘Area of Greatest Potential’ for large scale wind farm development, is around seven km north west of Langholm and is accessed from the B709.

The proposal would see up to 12 turbines being located on higher ground, primarily within the forested areas, and overall the scheme would have a maximum capacity of 49MW.  It is anticipated a planning application will be submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council this year.

The site is currently used for a mixture of forestry and agricultural purposes, with the turbines being located entirely within the forested part of the site.  It is anticipated that the existing use of the site would continue once the windfarm is operational, although modifications to the forestry planting may be required to ensure that the windfarm operates efficiently.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Report was submitted to the Scottish Government in April 2016. At the time this was submitted, the proposal was for a windfarm of 18 turbines with a capacity of up to 57.6 megawatts (MW). As the design has progressed through the EIA the proposed number of turbines has reduced to 12 and the anticipated capacity is now 49 MW. This reduction below 50 MW means that the decision on any application will now be taken by Dumfries and Galloway Council rather than the Scottish Government.

If this scheme did go ahead, communities in the surrounding area could take advantage of a community benefit fund which would generate nearly £250,000 annually. This fund accords with the best practice guidelines set out by government for renewable energy schemes.

Commenting on the proposals, Estate Manager Sarah Exton said:

“We are keen to hear local views on the administration of such a fund, and we would like to work with local groups, businesses and individuals in developing ideas on how such a fund might be used.

“In addition, if any community organisation or body, or indeed individuals, are interested in shared ownership of the project and would like to discuss this further, we would be happy to work together to explore ways in which the community could invest, in line with Scottish Government good practice principles,” Sarah concludes.

Application

The application for the wind farm at Hopsrig was submitted on the 2nd March 2017. The submission documents can be found here

In August 2018 the application was turned down by Dumfries and Galloway Council, Buccleuch now has a period of time to decide whether they wish to appeal the decision.