Eskdalemuir Seismic Array is a seismological monitoring station in the Scottish Borders which forms part of the UK’s obligations under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The array’s operation can be compromised by excessive seismic noise in the vicinity, which can be produced by wind turbines operating around the array.
In May 2005 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a technical site direction with a safeguarding map to relevant planning authorities in England and Scotland as well as Scottish Ministers. This direction advised that any sites within 50km of the array would require consultation with MoD before determination. This 50km radius is often referred to as the ‘consultation zone’.
The Scottish Government's Eskdalemuir Working Group is working to resolve issues with the development of onshore wind within the consultation zone. A summary of these issues can be found in Section 7.2 of the Scottish Government's Onshore Wind Policy Statement.
The Working Group is currently drafting a guidance document on how the Eskdalemuir noise budget will be managed in the future. This is due to come out for public consultation by 31 March.
To inform the development of the draft guidance, work is underway with Xi Engineering to ascertain the impact of a 10km or 15km exclusion zone and the various possible Seismic Impact Limits (SILs) on the existing project pipeline. This work is due to be completed in February and will enable the Working Group to understand the implications for the projects within the consultation zone. The purpose of this work is to ensure the decision on the size of the exclusion zone and the SIL is based on a full understanding of the implications.