MORE than 130 Berwickshire residents attended a public meeting on Monday October 9 to discuss proposals for Battery Energy Storage Systems in the local area.

The meeting at Leitholm Village Hall was chaired by John Lamont MP and attended by Rachael Hamilton MSP, representatives of battery storage company Zenobe, and local councillors.

READ MORE: Loulabelles Bakewell Tarts are Prue-approved

Other developers were invited but did not accept the invitation.

Border Telegraph: Public Meeting at meeting at Leitholm Village Hall

The public meeting was arranged after a number of planning applications were made for Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) sites surrounding the Eccles substation.

People raised concerns about the use of prime agricultural land for the sites, the lack of Government oversight of the planning process, potential visual and noise impact of the site, possible problems with traffic during construction, the quantity of applications in the area, and fire safety concerns.

READ MORE: More running success for Borders teacher Sara Green

Mr Lamont said: “We are grateful to everyone who attended this meeting to discuss the matter of planning applications for battery storage systems around Eccles substation.

Border Telegraph: Public Meeting at meeting at Leitholm Village Hall

“The local community have serious concerns about many aspects of these proposals which I hope the Scottish Government and developers will look to address.

“The SNP Government really must improve the planning application process so that local residents receive the information they deserve and have their views listened to, which hasn’t happened on this occasion.”

READ MORE: Brand new community garden created in the Borders

Ms Hamilton, said: “Thank you to everybody who came to discuss these proposals.

“The Community Council has raised valid concerns which must be fully considered. I am particularly concerned about the impact of these plans on high-quality agricultural land.

“The lack of strategic planning from the SNP Government is a growing problem when these kinds of projects emerge.

“We will continue to stand up for local residents who have concerns about the scale and impact of these proposals.”

A Scottish Government Spokesperson said: “We need bold action to tackle the climate emergency and Scotland has extensive renewable generation capabilities with which to accelerate our just transition to net zero.

“As our renewable generation capacity increases, there will be a growing need for suitable storage and flexibility to manage the differences between generation and demand, with battery storage being one of the solutions.

“We have some of the most stringent environmental impact regulations anywhere in the world and our planning and consenting systems ensure that local communities can have their say.

“We are aware of battery storage proposals in Eccles, one of which is currently a live application. Given this, it would not be appropriate for us to make comment on the handling or merits of specific proposals at this time."