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Fresh turbine plan after MoD objection to Somerset installation  

Credit:  Western Gazette -- Yeoville, www.thisissomerset.co.uk 27 October 2011 ~~

A wind turbine that was installed without planning permission by an ex-town councillor and prompted fears of danger to military aviators is the subject of a revised planning application.

Former Somerton Town councillor David Smith, who runs VRS scrapyard at Badgers Cross, has submitted the plans following enforcement action from South Somerset District Council.

Permission was refused for the wind turbine due to an objection from the MoD estates department.

The department objected because it said the turbine would interfere with the Air Traffic Control and Secondary Surveillance Radar at RNAS Yeovilton which is around five miles away.

Emergency enforcement action was taken by South Somerset District Council, which issued a temporary stop order, requiring the turbine to be turned off.

The turbine has stayed in place but has remained switched off since the action.

Somerton resident Peter Richardson, a retired squadron leader from the School of Military Engineering, has compiled a report and asks the MoD to prove evidence to substantiate its claims.

In his report he said: “The radar sector that the VRS wind turbine is sited is not in a critical radar sector and the vast majority of air traffic to and from RNAS Yeovilton is operating without a radar service, on a see and be seen basis.

“Therefore, the deconfliction of aircraft is no greater or less than any other area of poor radar performance that affects the Watchman radar due to ground clutter and weather.

“Secondary Surveillance radar has not been shown to be significantly affected by wind turbines and therefore flight safety is in my view is not severely degraded in this instance.”

Mr Richardson also points out that until recently another turbine, operated by South Somerset District Council at the Yeovil Innovation Centre off Copse Road, was located in a radar sector that monitors air traffic to and from the AgustaWestland airfield and occasional Surveillance Radar Approach traffic to RNAS Yeovilton.

He argued that the more likely issue affecting the base was radar controller workload.

He said: “(In) these austere times of cutbacks in manpower and finances it is likely that there are insufficient air traffic controllers to fully man the radar screens within the recommended time/workload limitations.

“It has been stated without conclusive proof by the MoD that the wind turbine sited at Badgers Cross significantly interferes with the primary and secondary radar at RNAS Yeovilton, yet no official studies have been undertaken.”

The original planning documents submitted to the council showed a Gaia 11 kilowatt, two-bladed fixed turbine as the basis for its design and access statement, energy production rates and various impact assessments.

The new plans are for a three-bladed turbine provided by Irish firm C&F Green Energy attached to a 15-metre pylon.

The revised plans were submitted last week.

Source:  Western Gazette -- Yeoville, www.thisissomerset.co.uk 27 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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