The Ministry of Defence has prevented the construction of a wind farm at the Lotus Hethel site, claiming that they could affect the operation of their Trimingham radar.
In a letter to the planners, the MoD said that the moving blades of the three proposed turbines, which would have been located 32 miles away from the radar, might have appeared on the radar as a moving object that could be mistaken for an aircraft, having a “detrimental effect on national security”. It also added: “Trials conducted by the MoD in 2004 and 2005 on the effects of wind turbines on radar systems have identified that even solitary turbines can significantly reduce operational effectiveness when in line of sight.”
MoD objections to wind power projects have been steadily increasing in recent years, and experts say that they now target around 50 per cent of onshore applications. “This is potentially seriously damaging to investor confidence in the UK renewable energy market and throws the future of other wind turbine projects into doubt,” said Chris Tomlinson of the British Wind Energy Association.
The MoD refused to comment on whether existing turbines in the area had caused any security problems, but said that it expects to upgrade the Trimingham radar at some point in the next year. “We would hope the new one would be more wind turbine friendly,” said a spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, Ecotricity – the energy company hoping to build the turbines – plans to launch an appeal against the decision.
14 November 2007
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