A “potentially disastrous situation” was avoided by planning officials today after they refused proposals for new wind turbines following complaints from the Ministry of Defence.
When plans for six new 120m high turbines at Swaffham were first unveiled Breckland Council recommended approval for the scheme.
But after councillors put off making a final decision on the project-between the A1065 Castle Acre Road and Sporle-to allow more investigation of issues raised by the MoD, the plans were recommended for refusal.
Defence Estates had concerns over the impact of the turbines on air traffic radar and air traffic management procedures at RAF Marham.
However Next Generation tried to get conditions imposed to overcome concerns, which the MoD said would be “unreasonable and as such unenforceable.”
David Williams, councillor for the area, said: “I’ve served in the RAF for 23 years and spent some of my time at Marham. The turbines mean air craft would go off radar for around five miles.
“What you’re proposing is to take part of the busiest air craft station in the UK off radar. It’s a ticking time bomb. Do you really want a time bomb in your hands?
“If an aircraft goes down in that area it’s not just the pilot that will get hurt. It’s a potentially disastrous situation. These turbines create a lot of power. Great. But let them do it at sea.”
Councillors on Breckland’s development control committee unanimously refused the plans.
Wind turbine companies have previously accused the MoD of being “the biggest single obstacle to wind power in the UK”.
By Robyn Greenacre
14 January 2008
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