Wind turbine plans approved despite visibility concerns

The 200-metre turbines are set to be fitted with red aviation lights, prompting fears they would ruin the view of the area.

Wind turbine plans approved despite visibility concerns Ashley Cooper via Getty Images

New 200-metre wind turbines have been approved despite objections – after Scottish ministers agreed it would take an impact of “overwhelming importance” to stop them.

The turbines, located in the Lammermuir Hills, sparked concern from East Lothian Council after they included plans to put red aviation lights at the top.

The local authority argued they would be as visible as the giant cranes at the St James Centre in Edinburgh city centre were across the county.

However, in a report approved by Scottish ministers following an appeal by windfarm operators Fred Olsen Renewables, it was ruled that none of the objections were strong enough to support refusing planning permission for the turbines.

The operators had argued that the case for renewable energy outweighed concerns over the giant turbines.

They said: “The need case for renewable energy development is greater than ever before. Consequently, it would take a local impact of overwhelming importance to justify a refusal of consent, and there is none.”

East Lothian Council objected to proposals to extend the Crystal Rig windfarm project over plans to put red lights on top of them to meet Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

They said: “The Lammermuirs form the backdrop to East Lothian. The skyline, especially where unbroken, characterises East Lothian.

“The area is characterised by a lack of lighting, creating the perception of an undeveloped area at night.”

Representatives from Mayshiel and Cranshaws Estates also lodged objections, saying the inclusion of 200-metre-high turbines in the latest plans should be very carefully considered.

Comparing them to the height of the Queensferry Crossing towers, they said: “It is a stalking horse prelude to the proposed re-powering of the early phases of Crystal Rig with turbines of this height.”

The proposals for Crystal Rig IV will see a further 11 wind turbines placed in the Lammermuir Hills.

The latest phase of the Crystal Rig project will take the number of turbines on the site to more than 100.

By local democracy reporter Marie Sharp

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