Huge Borders wind farm will have 240 metre turbines

A planning bid has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for what would be one of the UK’s largest onshore wind farms.

Muirhall Energy wants to build the 62-turbine Teviot Wind Farm with tip heights of 240 metres on land east of Priesthaugh, south of Hawick.

The development was originally planned to be even more extensive but following local consultation, the Lanark-based renewable energy company reduced the number of turbines from the originally planned 75.

Muirhall has pledged that the wind farm development would generate £2.8m a year – or £114.4m over its planned 40-year operational life – to support local communities across Teviotdale.

Muirhall Energy operate a number of sites across Scotland

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It also plans to set up a £500,000 initial investment fund to help communities during the construction period.

A planning statement submitted with the application, from Edinburgh-based David Bell Planning, says: “Through engagement at the earliest stages of any development, Muirhall Energy aim to create open, positive and mutually beneficial relationships with residents, businesses and organisations which are then strengthened and maintained throughout the lifespan of the project.

“Muirahll Energy recently commissioned the Crossdykes Wind Farm in Dumfries and Galloway which is one of the first subsidy-free farms to be completed in the UK.

“By working openly and transparently with the communities nearest the Crossdykes Wind Farm, the project achieved another first by securing a shared ownership agreement with the local community which will benefit the area for the lifetime of the project.”

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A spokesperson for Muirhall Energy said: “The Teviot Wind Farm will bring significant inward investment to local villages such as Teviothead and Denholm, as well as the larger town of Hawick.”

In addition to details on turbines and solar panels, the application also includes an Habitat Enhancement Plan, which proposes to increase public access to the site, the restoration of significant areas of peatland and the planting of 65 hectares of native woodland.

Muirhall Energy was founded by former Lothian and Borders detective Chris Walker after 15 years working in the firearms, CID and drug squads.

Chris, from South Queensferry, had his “eureka moment” after buying a farm on a bleak, wind-blasted moor in Lanarkshire.

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He said: “The farm came with 400 acres of poor hill ground and after sinking the tractor into the peat three or four times there was a bit of a eureka moment.

"I opened the door of the tractor and it blew open with the wind and smashed the window. That was early 2003 and I came home that night and on the television it said wind was the way forward.”

Having a lifelong interest in the environment, the 58-year-old decided climate change was the biggest case that needed solving.

Chris then committed to his eco-friendly business, which became Muirhall Energy in 2009, in the hope of making a difference.

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His firm, which employs 35 workers, develops and manages onshore wind projects, and sells renewable power into the wholesale market and directly to climate-conscious businesses.

He added: "We are very keen to engage with anybody interested in cheap green power.

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