Wull Muir Wind Farm

Site Name

Wull Muir

Site Location

3km north west of Heriot

Proposed Turbine Height

Up to 135m

Proposed No. of Turbines

8

Approximate Installed Capacity

33.6 MW

Planning Authority

Scottish Borders Council

Predicted Community Benefit Fund

To be Agreed

Status

Pre-Application

Project Description

The proposed Wull Muir wind farm is located approximately 1.3km north west of Heriot and 4km south of Middleton and is adjacent to the operational Carcant Wind Farm in the Scottish Borders.

Project History

Energiekontor UK Ltd submitted a planning application for a wind farm at Wull Muir in February 2019 (19/00191/FUL). The turbines were originally sited adjacent to a landscape feature to the north west of the site known as the Moorfoot Hill Escarpment.

While the planning application was live the wind farm was redesigned to move the turbines approximately 500m to the south east, thereby increasing the separation from the Escarpment. This revised layout was formally submitted to Scottish Borders Council in September 2019.

The application was heard at the Council’s planning committee in February 2020 where planning permission was refused. A planning appeal was dismissed in October 2020 on landscape and visual grounds.

The reasons for refusal for the 2019 development provide clear evidence for what might be considered an acceptable wind farm development in this area. It is clear that any wind farm would need to provide a clear separation from the Moorfoot Edge escarpment so that turbines appear smaller in comparison with the scale of this landscape feature and/or are able to benefit from topographical screening to the extent that they would not detract from the visual role of this landscape feature.

Proposed Development

The proposed development comprises eight turbines with a tip height of 135m and takes account of the reasons for refusal of the previous applications. The redesigned layout increases the separation distance from the escarpment to over 1.5km.

An indicative layout has benefited from the input of Scottish Borders Council to gauge the extent to which it has addressed the reasons for refusal of the previous scheme – wirelines showing the refused and consultation layouts are provided as part of this exhibition for reference. The ‘proposed layout’ shown in the consultation wirelines documents has been refined into the current layout, which is the basis for the photomontages provided.

A full Environmental Impact Assessment is currently underway which will appraise the environmental impacts of the revised scheme. Disciplines under investigation include:

Landscape and Visual Impact

The objective of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) is to assess the Proposed Development in relation to the following:

  • Landscape Effects: Assessment of the effects on areas of landscape character including key characteristics, elements, landscape qualities and landscape designations; and
  • Visual Effects: Assessment of the effects on the views and visual amenity experienced by residents, tourists/visitors, recreational users and road users.

We have selected a number of viewpoints which is based on a Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV).  ZTVs are provided as part of this exhibition and highlight those areas where views of the wind farm may be possible and based on the ZTV the viewpoints are locations which are considered representative of showing what the windfarm would look like from these areas.  These viewpoints comprise those used for the previous scheme where relevant as well as a number of additional locations.

Hydrology, hydrogeology and Geology

The site layout takes account of ground conditions including peat and surface water networks.  Specifically, we have included exclusion buffers to ensure a minimum separation distance from watercourses and we have avoided areas of deep peat. 

The assessment within the EIAR will consider the potential impact on:

  • Surface water runoff rates and volumes and resultant flood risk;
  • Erosion and sedimentation;
  • Surface water quality and pollution of surface water;
  • Quality and quantity of public and private water supplies;
  • Site drainage (tracks, turbine foundations and hardstanding areas);
  • Drainage pathways; and
  • Watercourse crossing locations.

Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

A heritage asset is defined as any element of the historic environment which is of sufficient cultural significance to merit consideration in the planning process.  Designated assets include Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, World Heritage Sites, Conservation Areas, Inventory Gardens and Designed Landscapes, Inventory Historic Battlefields and Historic Marine Protected Areas.  Other assets may also be locally designated through policies in the Local Plan.

There are a number of identified assets in the surrounding area that may be subject to impacts and we will consider both indirect and direct effects, including impacts on the setting of these heritage assets.

Biodiversity

We will consider the likely ecological and ornithological impacts associated with the Proposed Development and the effects on a range of ecological receptors including key habitats and species.

Ecology investigations will include:

  • Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey (including a search or protected mammals)
  • National Vegetation Classification Survey
  • Ornithological surveys
  • Bat habitat assessment, bat roost suitability surveys, bat transect surveys and automated static bat detector surveys
  • Habitat suitability surveys

This result of the assessment will be reported in the EIAR which will set out how we have avoided sensitive locations as well as mitigation, enhancement and habitat creation. 

Traffic and Transport

We will utilise as much of the existing tracks as we can, and we have identified a borrow pit that could be used for the extraction of stone on site for the construction of the access track.  Even though we anticipate that a significant proportion of stone could be extracted via the borrow pit, to ensure a robust assessment we will base the number of transport trips needed for construction of the windfarm on the assumption that at least 50% of material will be transported to Site. 

We are investigating a number of options to access the site and these will be outlined in the planning application. The layout utilises a number of existing tracks and to minimize potential HGV lorry movements further during the construction phase on local roads, a borrow pit has been identified where rock supplies could be used to construct the new tracks as well as other areas of hardstanding such as the crane pads.  

Noise and Vibration

Turbines are proposed at sufficient distances from residential properties to ensure that noise monitoring isn’t required as predictions show that noise levels would be within acceptable limits.  The noise assessment provided as part of the application will take into account the cumulative impact that other windfarms in the area might have.

Works will be undertaken at considerable distances from residential properties which would limit the potential for any significant noise or vibration effects and measures will be put in place through commitments made within a Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP).

Further Information

Due to current restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 crisis we are conducting this public consultation through other means, including online.  The downloadable documents on this page contain the consultation material that we would have presented at a public exhibition. We would be grateful for any comments on our proposals, and these can be sent directly to the project manager either in an email or through completing the online questionnaire to Duncan Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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