A ROW has erupted over recent figures showing the extent of windfarm development in the Borders.

Statistics gathered by the Scottish Borders Windfarm network reveal that there are currently 440 consented or constructed wind turbines impacting the region, with a further 255 awaiting determination as either applications or appeals.

And there are hundreds more currently being scoped with plans to move ahead towards a planning application.

Local Conservative MSP John Lamont has hit out at the figures, saying: “Although many are individual turbines, there are several large scale windfarms being set up that will take up vast areas of land that will no doubt be visible for miles.

“When many Borders residents already believe that we have reached a saturation point when it comes to windfarms, I am sure they will be deeply upset that even more are on the way.

“This sudden proliferation of turbines in our region can be sourced back to the SNP’s ludicrous renewable energy targets.

“Instead of seeking a varied and balanced energy policy, they have driven ahead with their plans to have more wind energy despite the obvious public anger it is causing.” Chair of the Scottish Borders Windfarm Network, Mark Rowley, added: “Our countryside is now being littered with these turbines and it having a hugely adverse effect on some of the most beautiful landscapes that Scotland has to offer.” But South Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse, who is also the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, maintains that local landowners have the ultimate say on whether windfarms are given the go-ahead.

He told us: “It can be frustrating for communities to see speculative applications, but the planning system operates on the principle of assessing each application, whether for a house or a turbine, on their merits.

“Ultimately, local landowners are the ones that effectively control whether projects will or will not happen on their land. “The irony is that three of Mr Lamont’s colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have their own wind farms in beautiful landscapes, while Lamont seeks to deny farm businesses elsewhere the opportunity.

“Mr Lamont’s and his party’s hypocrisy and his personal lust for publicity know no bounds.”