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Wind farm may disrupt radar at RAF base, warns MoD

Aircraft could be put at risk by a proposed new wind farm in the east of Scotland, the Ministry of Defence warned yesterday.

The 85-metre turbines, due to be built at Gathercauld, near Ceres in north-east Fife, could cause severe interference to radar signals at RAF Leuchars, it said.

The original plans, lodged in 2006, called for 13 wind turbines to be built on the site. A fresh application was submitted in May for a scaled-down wind farm, with five turbines.

However, the MoD has lodged an objection with Fife Council, and said that the turbines could cause massive safety problems for civilian and military aircraft in the area.

In its objection to the planning application lodged by the German wind-power firm EnergieKontor, the MoD said four of the five planned turbines were “in direct line of sight” of its radar station at Leuchars.

John Wilson, of the MoD, said the turbine’s blades could cause “unknown” radar returns, which could not be ignored by air traffic controllers at the Leuchars base as they could be real aircraft.

The MoD’s objection is one of hundreds received by the local authority from individuals, businesses and other organisations.

A local protest group, Protect Rural East Fife, said the planned development might be visible from a wide area of Fife and Dundee, and could harm tourism in the area.

Mick McLoughlin, project manager for EnergieKontor, which is planning another wind farm at Auchtermuchty in Fife, said the firm would be proceeding with its planning application and was not unduly concerned about the MoD’s objection.

By Jamie Beatson

scotsman.com

7 August 2007