East Midlands Airport claims two massive wind turbines proposed for Spondon would pose a “serious safety hazard” to aircraft.
Severn Trent has submitted a planning application to build the 132-metre-high structures at its Sewage Treatment Works in Megaloughton Lane.
But a planning officer has recommended the proposal is rejected after accepting the turbines would “clutter” the airport’s primary radar.
The officer said the water company had offered “no satisfactory solution” to the problem, despite offering to reduce the number of turbines to one.
East Midlands Airport wrote to Derby City Council’s planning control committee objecting to the proposal.
The letter read: “The proposed development will result in a serious safety hazard to aircraft in and around East Midlands Airport.
“Whilst we acknowledge and appreciate the concession offered by the developer (to reduce the turbine numbers from one to two) this does not address the issue of radar clutter.
“There have been a number of developments immediately north of the control zone to which we have not objected and these, along with the Spondon proposal, will have a cumulative effect.
“The risk of this development on the safety of operations has been assessed by us as unacceptable.”
The planning officer recommends the application is refused as the turbines “are likely to result in a severe adverse impact on the operation of East Midlands Airport”.
He wrote: “Wind turbines can create certain problems for aviation. They show up on radar and can be interpreted as moving objects, which are intermittently seen, similar to aircraft. As such they may be mistaken for aircraft and interfere with the ability of radar to track an aircraft in a particular area.”
The officer also said the application should be rejected as “insufficient information” had been submitted by Severn Trent explaining how the turbines would be safely transported to the site prior to construction.
The planning control committee is set to determine the application on Thursday.
If permission is granted, the turbines will be twice as tall as Derby Cathedral and create enough electricity to power 3,700 homes.
Severn Trent plans to sell the electricity to the National Grid to help reduce its own electricity bills. Derby City Council received seven letters supporting the application and six objections. Noise, visual appearance and potential harm to wildlife were among the concerns.
The nearest homes to the turbines would be 350 metres away in Holme Lane. Station Road, Derby Road and Galway Avenue were assessed to be at risk of experiencing audible levels of noise at night.
Some properties would also experience the effects of shadow flicker. South Derbyshire District Council has objected to the application on the grounds it would harm the landscape at the grade two listed Elvaston Castle.
Martin Dent, Severn Trent’s renewable energy development manager, said: “We have been aware of the issues raised by East Midlands Airport for some time and are currently discussing with them ways of how we can practically address their concerns.”
He added Severn Trent remained satisfied that the turbines could be delivered to the site safely via one of two routes – the A52 or the A6.
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