Safety concerns about an airport’s radar system are likely to ground a green energy company’s second bid to build a wind farm.
Banks Renewables’ bid to build six wind turbines at Barmpton, north-east of Darlington, is expected to be rejected at a planning meeting next week unless discussions between the firm and Durham Tees Valley Airport officials allay safety fears.
Planning officers at Darlington Borough Council have prepared two recommendations for Banks’ plans for the wind farm at Moor House, depending on the results of the talks.
The planning brief which has been prepared for the meeting said that if the airport maintained its objections, officers could not recommend approval. An alternative recommendation to approve the scheme with 32 individual conditions has also been drafted because the applicants are “hopeful” that ongoing discussions would enable the airport to remove its objection.
The airport has “strongly objected” to the application.
Its statement to the council said: “We have assessed the details and our calculations show that, at the given positions and heights, all six of the wind turbines will penetrate Durham Tees Valley Airport’s safeguarded surfaces.
“It poses an increased safety risk to aircraft operating within the vicinity of the aerodrome. We can also confirm that the rotation of the wind turbine blades within this development would be detected by Durham Tees Valley Airport’s primary radar, creating clutter in the form of twinkling or the formation of tracks on the screen.
“This effect can be highly distracting for a controller and cause confusion when trying to distinguish between real aircraft and false targets.
As a result, the safe operation of the airport would be seriously compromised.”
Phil Dyke, development director of Banks Renewables, said: “We believe that our original plans are acceptable and were obviously very disappointed with the rejection of these proposals, especially as they were recommended for approval.
“But having looked carefully at our design options, we believe the new proposal addresses the concerns that were raised at the original planning committee meeting.”
Councillor Brian Jones, in whose ward the application lies, has maintained his objections since the application was first made, principally because of any safety implications at the airport.
He said yesterday: “A s long as the airport’s objection stands, there is no way the application can be approved. It would be far too dangerous for anything else.We cannot take any chances.”
The meeting will take place in the town hall committee rooms on Wednesday at 1.30pm. It is open to the public.
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