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MoD radar concerns halt wind turbines installation  

Credit:  Bury Free press, www.buryfreepress.co.uk 10 November 2011 ~~

A man who has been told he is unable to install two wind turbines on his land is ‘envious and annoyed’ by the sight of one on a neighbouring plot.

“The whole thing is rather absurd,” said Peter Ford, of Botesdale Common.

“How did the first one get under the radar?” asked the 55-year-old, who owns three and a half acres.

The turbines would have provided a free source of electricity, with any surplus sold to the National Grid.

Windcrop Ltd, the company seeking planning approval on Mr Ford’s behalf, said it withdrew the application after being advised of Ministry of Defence concerns over radar interference.

Mary Marston, Windcrop’s head of planning, said radar interference was ‘a widespread issue’, responsible for halting more than 50 applications in East Anglia.

She said the proposed site was in the line of sight of radar at RAF Honington and that other RAF bases, including Lakenheath and Mildenhall, had faced similar issues.

She said: “It’s unlikely it is something that can be overcome in the short term because the MoD has a long-standing objection to wind turbines if they’re going to be a potential cause of interference for their radar systems.”

An MoD spokesman said: “The MoD must protect our assets and operational activities against anything that may adversely affect operations.

“As far as radar interference is concerned, we must ensure the safety of aircraft (both military and civilian), the safety of people on the ground, and we must also ensure adequate air defence radar coverage to help maintain national security.

“Wind turbines are huge reflectors of radar signals – many times larger than the largest aircraft – and the effects are made much worse when the turbine blades are rotating.”

He said wind turbines could cause the desensitisation of nearby radar, resulting in undetected aircraft.

They could create ‘false’ aircraft returns, which had to be treated as real, leading to increased workload for controllers and aircrews.

In rare cases, they could make airspace unusable for low level flying, a vital skill for military pilots and a necessary part of their training.

And, if constructed in the line of sight of Precision Approach Radar (PAR) – a very accurate radar used to guide aircraft down, particularly in inclement weather – they could compromise its effectiveness by causing aircraft to disappear from the radar and by generating ‘false plots’.

Philip Isbell, professional lead officer at Mid Suffolk District Council, said the accumulative affect of wind turbines was a matter of concern, but that the results of a statutory bat survey were also absent from Windcrop’s application.

Source:  Bury Free press, www.buryfreepress.co.uk 10 November 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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