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Council against 'ring' of wind farms  

yorkshiretoday.co.uk

Airport radar trouble feared over turbines

Emma Dunlop

Fears over air safety have prompted council chiefs to refuse to back dozens of huge wind turbines planned for land between Doncaster and Lincolnshire.

Campaigners have been fighting plans for the wind farms, which would litter the area between Thorne, near Doncaster, and Crowle with turbines 125 metres (410ft) tall.

Among their fears are the visual impact such schemes would have. They say they would create a “ring of steel” around the protected and valuable Thorne and Hatfield moors site.

Doncaster Council is expected to meet this week to debate a revised planning application for a number of the sites, including a controversial wind farm near Thorne.

Earlier this year energy giant E.ON UK went back to the drawing board after public protests and the council’s objections to its original plans to build 28 turbines near the Thorne Moors nature reserve.

The company submitted an altered scheme involving only 22 turbines in a smaller, slightly different location.

But the council’s planning committee is expected to refuse it once again at its meeting tomorrow.

Council officers have obj-ected to the latest proposals for several reasons, including the potential problem of the turbines affecting radar equipment at nearby Robin Hood Airport and the impact on the beauty spot and public rights of way.

In total 1,936 letters of objection were sent to the council following the original application, along with 663 letters of support.

The council is also set to refuse to back wind farms in the Aire and Calder region and at Keadby. It was asked its views by the East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Councils. Again it has obj-ected on aviation grounds.

A spokesman said: “The greatest concern with the proposals is the interaction of the moving turbines with the primary radar system currently being installed at Robin Hood Airport.

“It has been shown that it is almost certain that the towers and the turbines will be visible on the radar screens used by the airport’s approach radar controllers.

“These returns are indistinguishable from those produced by an aircraft.”

He added “filters” to remove stationary obstacles such as wind turbines had still not proved satisfactory.

The wind farms would “adversely affect the future development of the airport”.

A public inquiry into the plans will be held early next year and these comments come only days before a pre-inquiry meeting to confirm the people wishing to give evidence.

Campaigners against the wind farms condemned Government inspectors recently after they lumped the Tween Bridge application in with the Keadby one in North Lincolnshire.

Most of the turbines will be in the Doncaster area but the Department of Trade and Industry has instead decided to hear the inquiry at Goole in East Yorkshire.

Dr Ann Walker, chairwoman for Thorne and District Windfarm Advisory Group and spokeswoman for Humberhead Against Turbines, said: “The add-ress for the Tween Bridge site on all the legal documentation had been changed from Thorne, Doncaster to Crowle, North Lincolnshire.

“This is erroneous as the site entrance, compound, etc is in Thorne, Doncaster, as are 19 of the proposed 22 turbines with the other three being in North Lincs. The site, up to this point, has always been referred to as Thorne with Doncaster Coun-cil being the lead council.”

However, despite her prot-ests to the DTI, she was told this was not an error but a deliberate ploy on its part to put the two applications in the same planning region.

She said this “gives local people the impression that the wind farm site… is no longer their concern”.

On the venue for the public inquiry, she said Goole was in a different area for media coverage and so no one in the Doncaster area would get to know about it.

No one was available for comment from the DTI or E.ON last night.

But E.ON UK has submitted a further study which said the wind farm would have minimal negative impact on birds, noise and landscape.

emma.dunlop@ypn.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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