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GSK aims to lift objection made by MoD

Glaxosmithkline (GSK) is ‘confident’ a solution will be found to lift an objection from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the company’s wind turbine proposals.

The MoD lodged its objection with Angus Council recently, claiming that the two 426-feet high structures would cause “unacceptable interference” to radar installations at RAF Leuchars 27 miles away.

That objection has since been dropped due to proposals to counter the problem, but further issues remain.

A GSK spokesman this week said that the company’s environmental consultants are currently working closely with the MoD to better understand the issues which centre on the creation of “false” aircraft returns which their air traffic controllers must treat as real.

In her letter to planners Margot Williams, assistant safeguarding officer with the defence infrastructure organisation, pointed out that turbines have had a detrimental effect on radar’s performance in the past.

She said: “The desensitisation of radar could result in aircraft not being detected by the radar and therefore not presented to air traffic controllers.

“Controllers use the radar to separate and sequence both military and civilian aircraft and in busy uncontrolled airspace radar is the only sure way to do this safely.

“Maintaining situational awareness of all aircraft movements within the airspace is crucial to achieving a safe and efficient air traffic service and the integrity of radar data is central to this process.”

No objections were put forward when GSK’s consultants approached the MoD before drafting the project’s environmental impact assessment and the company is keen to get to the bottom of the ministry’s concern.

The spokesman said: “With similar sized turbines having operated for a number of years at the Michelin site in Dundee, which is much closer to RAF Leuchars, GSK needs to understand if there are conditions specific to the Montrose site which might be causing the MoD concerns.

“Once GSK fully understands the MoD’s position the company will consider what steps to take if mitigation is necessary. Options, if required, may include a holographic radar sensor solution such as that proposed by the developers of the wind farm at Corse Hill, between Carnoustie and Arbroath.

“The MoD had also objected to that development on the grounds of potential interference with radar from RAF Leuchars, but the objection has been dropped on the basis of the proposed mitigation solution.

“GSK remains confident that a solution will be found to enable the MOD objection to be lifted.”