Airport bosses have yet to make a decision on where its air traffic control will be based after agreeing on an improved safety system allowing a wind farm to be built.
The Banks Group reached agreement with Durham Tees Valley Airport for a radar system that enabled councillors to pass plans for six turbines at Barmpton, near Darlington, five miles from the airport.
Experts from the airport had initially “strongly objected” to Banks’ proposals for the wind farm on safety grounds, saying that the turbines would “penetrate its safeguarded surfaces”, would be visible to radar and could distract and confuse air traffic controllers.
But continued discussions between the two parties enabled the airport to withdraw those reservations.
Justin Hancock, development planner at Banks Renewables, revealed at Wednesday’s planning committee that Banks would be likely to pay for a radar system. As part of conditions imposed by the committee, work will not be allowed to start until the airport is satisfied.
One objector at the meeting, John Rankin, who has worked in air traffic control at the airport for 32 years, raised concerns about the airport’s Uturn.
He was also worried that the decision may see the air traffic control move from Durham Tees Valley to Liverpool, another of Peel Airport’s airports, with the potential loss of up to eight jobs.
A spokesman said Liverpool already ran air traffic control for Peel’s third airport at Doncaster, but no decision has yet been made at Durham Tees Valley. He said: “It is up to the developer to agree with ourselves the best solution to mitigate impacts on the airport’s radar and no decision has been made to date on this matter.”
Objectors living between the airport and the wind farm were also concerned about safety and called on officials to issue a public statement.
The spokesman added: “Safety is always the airport’s highest priority and the wind farm will not become operational until the airport is satisfied that it has no impact on its aviation-related activity.”
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