THE Duke of Buccleuch has backed objectors to a proposed wind farm planned for the Borders.

The application for Windy Edge wind farm seeks permission for 17 turbines to be built on farmland near the historic Hermitage Castle near Hawick.

The 10th duke, Richard Buccleuch, on whose land the castle stands, has objected to the proposal, saying: "To pollute the landscape backdrop of the castle with all its power to evoke the history and heritage of the Scottish Borders would be nothing short of vandalism."

A formal letter of objection was submitted to the council by the Buccleuch Estates Limited, of which the Duke is chairman.

The proposal has already attracted widespread objection, including from landowners such as the Earl of Minto and Professor Jane Bower of the Gorrenberry Estate, a nearby ecological restoration project.

A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council said the application was ongoing and all responses were being considered as part of the consultation process.

It added that a decision was not likely to be taken for a number of months.

Previously the Duke had unveiled plans for a wind farm and hydro power park on a restored mine site at Glenmuckloch, near Kirkconnel in Dumfries and Galloway, despite the fact his father, the late ninth Duke Johnnie Buccleuch, was a fierce opponent of wind farms and once described them as "unparalleled acts of rural vandalism".

Speaking at the time, John Glen, chief executive of Buccleuch Estates, said the plans for Glenmuckloch would involve restoring an industrial landscape, and that the community was in favour of turbines.