A PUBLIC inquiry into a wind farm rejected by Borders councillors will be held next year.

Faw Side wind farm – which would straddle the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway – was opposed by Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) planning and building standards committee in March.

The fate of the project, which developers Community Windpower say could provide electricity to more than 328,000 homes, will now be settled via a public inquiry.

On the inquiry, Gillian Cropper, projects director at Community Windpower, said: “The planning application in respect of Faw Side community wind farm has been referred to the DPEA and a public inquiry will be held during 2022.

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“This is welcomed by Community Windpower, as this onshore wind farm project can play a vital and significant role in the action required to help tackle the climate emergency and reduce carbon emissions as Scotland works towards its legally binding net zero targets.

“As world leaders attend COP26 in Glasgow, we are all aware that the time to act is now, if we want to have any success in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees to protect the planet for future generations. This wind farm is one step towards achieving this, whilst at the same time, contributing towards a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

SBC declared a climate emergency back in September last year.

However, councillors rejected the 45-turbine plans this year, stating that it was not “the right place” for the development.

Following the meeting, Ms Cropper said that local authorities “speak with forked tongues”, adding that “no one is standing up for the climate”.

Of the 45 turbines – the tallest of which would reach 200m – 13 would be situated in the Borders.

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Ms Cropper says the project will “support at least 200 jobs in construction” and create six permanent jobs once operational.

She added: “Faw Side community wind farm will also provide economic investment of over £1.1 billion into the Borders and across Scotland over the 40-year life of the wind farm.”

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth, of Scottish Labour, wrote a letter of objection to the government about the plans in 2019.

“I am happy that there is now going to be a public inquiry about this project,” he said. “I expressed my objections back in 2019 and my thoughts haven’t changed.

“While a number of constituents had contacted me about the lack of proper consultation about the project, this wasn’t the only issue.

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“The area in question is extremely rural and the strain on the local road infrastructure from transporting components from Lockerbie to Faw Side would be enormous,” he added.

“The proposals for air safety lighting on the turbines would also have an adverse impact on the local landscape.

“I will look forward to the findings of the public inquiry and I hope the Scottish Government takes its evidence and the views of the local community very seriously.”