People in an Isle of Axholme town are worried more aircraft will be flying over their homes and shops if plans to ‘control’ the airspace above them go ahead.
Robin Hood Airport is seeking to make the airspace around Crowle controlled at a height of 2,000ft – and some believe the move is directly linked to a huge windfarm earmarked for the east and west of the town.
If airport bosses get their wish, the controlled space will be made official on July 31.
Currently, any aircraft flying at 2,000ft or below does not need permission to be in the airspace around Crowle, but under the plans pilots would have to pre-warn air traffic control of their presence.
Permission was granted last June for 34 wind turbines at Keadby and 22 at Tween Bridge, and at the time it was said they could pose a danger to aircraft.
Crowle town councillors fear if the airspace becomes controlled, the planes will divert away from the controlled airspace and fly over the town instead.
At the time of a public inquiry into the windfarm, Robin Hood Airport objected to the plans for windfarms and said they would only be in favour if a special radar was introduced.
But Coun Brian Duffield told a meeting of Crowle Town Council: “We are going to write to the Civil Aviation Authority for assurance the radar works because turbines create blind spots and can bring planes down.
“Robin Hood Airport plans to change its flight paths for aircraft to come over Crowle. More aircraft will fly over Crowle to avoid the turbines.
“We accept the Government has a set target for windfarms, but with changes to airspace my worse fears have been compounded – we are a dumping ground.
“The turbines are a ring of steel for North Axholme people and a very gloomy future for Crowle.”
Coun Mel Bailey, Mayor of Crowle, said he believed any change to the controlled airspace proposal was linked to the windfarms.
He said: “It would be sensible to put 2,000ft because it’s above the turbines so any radar can pick up aircraft.”
But Robin Tudor, spokesman for Robin Hood Airport, said there was no plan to change flight paths.
“We’ve been in discussions with the developers and we flagged up concerns the turbines could affect our radar equipment,” he said.
“One condition we request is before developers can construct the turbines they have to put in an additional radar.
“It will remove what we can see of the wind turbines.
“Currently airspace is uncontrolled for aircraft providing they go up to 2,000ft, but with this new proposal any aircraft flying around under that height will have to tell us. It will enable us to be more efficient with aircraft in range.
“What aircraft people see today should be exactly what’s seen in the future – other than an increase as the airport continues to grow.”
Ian Cawsey, MP for Brigg and Goole, said: “Everyone is unhappy and so far not one turbine has been erected.
“I think if the inspector had followed the advice I and others put forward for a ‘fair share’ solution we may not have reached this point and all of the ongoing concern that remains.”
Jamee Majid, from e-on, which is constructing the farm, at Tween Bridge, said: “As part of the agreement at Tween Bridge the new radar is part of what is supposed to be provided as an outcome of the public inquiry but I’m not sure if it’s being issued – it’s early stages yet.
“Usually the developer funds all or most of the cost of the radar.”
16 June 2008
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