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Airport claims wind turbine plans would be ‘potentially dangerous’

East Midlands Airport claims plans for three wind turbines on the banks of the River Trent could cause “potentially dangerous” interference to its radar.

The airport has objected to the University of Nottingham’s plans to build three 126-metre turbines at Grove Farm, between Clifton Bridge and Beeston Rylands.

It says they could lead to an effect known as “clutter” on the radar – when it appears to show other objects or aircraft, causing confusion.

Discussions took place between the airport and the university on Friday about the plans, as the airport says installing one turbine on the land could be acceptable as the level of clutter would be reduced.

An East Midlands Airport spokesperson said: “The installation of wind turbines can have an adverse effect on radar systems at airports.

“Clutter on a radar can be mistaken for other objects or aircraft and can be potentially dangerous by degrading radar performance.”

“In critical areas of flight, the installation of wind turbines has to be controlled by the airport, as the safety of aircraft and passengers is paramount.

“In this particular case, it was deemed that the effect of one turbine would be manageable in this area; however three turbines would create unacceptable clutter.”

The airport has two commercial scale wind turbines on its own site but said these were not in the radar’s path, and the airport had to go through stringent safety checks before getting clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The spokesperson for the airport added: “The airport fully supports and encourages the introduction of renewable energy and will continue to work with businesses across the region to ensure the safe installation of wind turbines.”

The £10 million turbine project could produce a third of the university’s electricity every year for 25 years.

Broxtowe Borough Council is to decide on one of the applications, with Nottingham City Council responsible for considering the other two turbines, which would be in the city boundary.

Notts County Council has previously outlined its opposition to the plans, saying they could affect the site of a potentially important ancient stream, and wildlife.

The plans are expected to come before Broxtowe and Nottingham City Council in the coming months.

A University of Nottingham spokesperson said: “As part of its planning application, the university submitted a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment that covered a wide range of issues, including aviation.

“We have been working with the planning authorities and with statutory consultees – and will continue to do so – in order to address the issues that have been raised.”