Erection of wind turbines on a hill in north-east Fife is being resisted by the MoD, with the warning that they would pose a significant risk to air traffic control at RAF Leuchars.
Ten could be built on Clatto Hill if the green light is given to two separate schemes – but the MoD says at least three of the turbines would cause unacceptable interference to ATC (air traffic control) radar.
It has objected to plans by farmer Douglas Rennie for three 100m turbines at Clatto Farm, between Kingskettle and Kennoway. Its position on seven 120m turbines proposed nearby by West Coast Energy, at Devon Wood, is not yet known.
Cyranne Taylor, MoD assistant safeguarding officer, told Fife Council the three turbines 12 miles from Leuchars would be in the line of sight of the ATC tower. Wind turbines, she said, had been shown to have a detrimental effect on the performance of ATC Watchman radars.
Miss Taylor said, “These effects include desensitisation of radar in the vicinity of the turbines and the creation of ‘false’ aircraft returns which air traffic controllers must treat as real.
“The desensitisation of radar could result in aircraft not being detected by the radar and therefore not presented to air traffic controllers.
“The creation of ‘false’ aircraft displayed on the radar leads to increased workload for both controllers and aircrews and may have a significant operational impact.”
Furthermore, she said, real aircraft detection by radar can be obscured by false aircraft returns, making tracking of aircraft much more difficult.
“In considering its response to this proposal, the MoD has taken account of these issues and concluded the development poses a significant risk to ATC operations.”
However, if Mr Rennie was able to overcome the issues raised and planning permission was granted, she said the MoD would request that special aviation lighting be installed on the turbines.
The MoD is one of several objectors to lodge opposition to the plans, recently submitted for planning permission.
Others include ScottishPower, which abandoned plans for a wind farm on the same hill a few years ago, Clatto Community Woodlands, which fears the turbines could spell the end for its plans to expand recreational opportunities in the area, and Ceres and District Community Council.
Clatto Landscape Protection Group, which fought the ScottishPower plans, also intends to object.
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