The Ministry of Defence has scuppered an application to build a wind farm in Cumbria because it will interfere with its abilities to monitor nuclear test explosions and stop “the proliferation of nuclear weapons”.
Carlisle Council has rejected an application put forward by REG Windpower to build six wind turbines at Hallburn Farm near Longtown following strong protestations from the MoD (among others).
The proposed wind farm is approximately 40km from the seismological recording station at Eskdalemuir. In the letter explaining the decision to reject the application, Carlisle planning office details: “The facility is part of the seismic network of the International Monitoring System set up to help verify compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which bans nuclear test explosions. The Treaty requires that States Parties shall not interfere with the verification system, of which Eskdalemuir is an element.”
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was negotiated in Geneva between 1994 and 1996 and now has 182 countries as signatories but will not become law until “44 specific nuclear technology countries sign and ratify”. Nine countries are missing: China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA.
The MoD claims that the wind turbines generate “seismic noise, which can interfere with the operational functionality of the Station”. The report also points out that a 50km circle has been drawn around the facility and a noise budget set for this – and this has already been reached.
The MoD also appealed against the application on the grounds that the turbines will cause “unacceptable interference” to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar at RAF Spadeadam at Deadwater Fell. It says that the wind turbines cause the radar to see non-existent aircraft, which the air traffic controllers must treat as real.
REG Windpower’s development director, Matt Partridge has told The Guardian: “We’re optimistic there will soon be a solution,” he said. The newspaper adds that these include “hanging weights like pendulums inside turbine towers to deaden the vibrations from the blades”.
In a statement sent to Wired.co.uk, an MOD spokesman added a caveat to anyone considering building a wind farm: “We currently provide a free pre-application consultation process to enable wind farm developers to seek our views about proposed wind turbines at as early a stage as possible. Objections are only raised where such action is considered vital to adequately protect MOD interests.”
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