COMMUNITY groups are forming an alliance in a bid to block an invasion of wind farms along the southern Borders.

Last week’s Border Telegraph revealed that Partnership for Renewables is planning to site up to 90 turbines on three sites between the Carter Bar and Newcastleton.

And the company has requested scoping opinions from Scottish Borders Council ahead of making submissions to the Scottish Government.

But campaigners gearing up to fight the bid believe the Wauchope and Newcastleton forest plans are just the tip of a turbine iceberg.

They know of a further five developments earmarked for adjacent sites along the border, which are either in the planning or appeal stages.

And there are genuine fears in affected communities that even more forests and hills are being considered by other renewable energy developers for future wind farms.

Philip Kerr, Vice Chairman of Southdean Community Council, told the Border Telegraph: “To say our communities are upset is an understatement.

“The three sites that Partnership for Renewables has submitted a scoping request for, straddle eight different community council areas.

“Already some of the community councils are working together to oppose these plans, and I’m sure others will become involved when they realise the scale of what is being proposed.”

As well as the possible 90 turbines stretched over two parts of Wauchope Forest and the majority of Newcastleton Forest, an application for 15 turbines on neighbouring Birneyknowe is currently being prepared.

An application is also expected later this year for 13 turbines at nearby Highlee Hill.

And an appeal has been lodged for the siting of nine turbines at Windy Edge.

Pre-planning scoping requests are also imminent for around a dozen turbines at Englekontor on the Harwood Estate as well as seven turbines for Cummings Hill.

Hawick, Denholm and Southdean community councils have already joined together to oppose the developments.

And a Chesters Windfarm Group was formed more than four years ago when the first applications were being mooted.

It is expected that other community councils and groups will join the fight as more and more applications reach the table.

Mr Kerr added: “Our area is coming under assault from developers and we need to react.

“This will trash the area for tourism and many businesses are totally against these plans.

“People are only now seeing the scale of what is about to happen.”

Scottish Borders Council is currently considering its response to the three-pronged Partnership for Renwables scoping request .

Southdean Community Council has already filed its submission, and they believe the three applications should be considered individually. The response stated: “The three sites are distinct and are separated from each other.

“The turbine siting places Newcastleton Forest turbines 11.5 kilometres away from the turbines at Wauchope West and Wauchope East.

“Wauchope East is 3.5 kilometres away from Wauchope West , but only 500 metres from Highlee Hill, a proposal submitted by a different developer.

“The closest Wind farm to Newcastleton Forest is Windy Edge, which actually has not been raised as a cumulative site for assessment.

“The three developments are in different watersheds – Wauchope East is in Jed Valley River catchment on the Borders Ridge, Wauchope West is in the Rule Valley and is on a different ridge line on the western slopes of Fanna Hill, and Newcastleton Forest is in the Liddel Valley catchment area.”