Golden eagles halt development of wind farm in the Scottish borders

Plans at the 543m high Scawd Law mountain above the B709 road in the Borders have been delayed after the sighting of two eagles (Picture: Getty Images)

A pair of golden eagles have halted the development of a wind farm.

Fred Olsen Renewables wants to build eight turbines, with a maximum tip height of 180 metres, at the 543-metre high Scawd Law mountain above the B709 road in the Borders.

The firm first announced its plans last year and said it was also exploring the potential to include mountain bike and walking trails within the wind farm development, close to the Moorfoot Hills site of special scientific interest.

But it has now emerged the proposals have been delayed by two eagles spotted on the site.

There has been a concerted effort to increase the population of golden eagles in the south of Scotland in recent years.

Colin Williams, who works in the wind energy development sector and has been co-opted onto an Innerleithen and district community council committee, told a meeting FOR has not yet submitted its planning application to Scottish Borders Council.

He gave details of an email received from Julie Atkin, the project manager, saying: ‘We had anticipated the proposals would be submitted earlier this year.

‘This has been delayed as a result of two eagles being identified on site.’

Keeping disturbance and human contact around these birds to a minimum is absolutely critical (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He added: ‘There has been a south of Scotland golden eagle introduction in the last three or four years.’

The email continued: ‘We are undertaking further bird surveys to understand the eagle movements prior to progressing the application further.

‘Any further application to the site would be undertaken in close consultation with NatureScot, the council and south of Scotland golden eagle group.’

The south of Scotland golden eagle group aims to reinforce the ‘small, isolated and vulnerable population’ of the iconic bird in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

A spokesperson for the project said: “Keeping disturbance and human contact around these iconic birds to a minimum is absolutely critical.’

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