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East Heslerton wind turbine plan comes in for double attack

Plans to build a ten-turbine wind farm in North Yorkshire have been criticised by local farmers and the organisation responsible for directing aircraft over the UK.

NATS En Route Plc (NERL) uses radar and other communications systems and navigational aids around the country to monitor and ensure the safety of aircraft operating in controlled airspace in the UK.

The organisation has lodged an objection to a wind farm development at East Heslerton, between Malton and Scarborough, which has been proposed by RWE npower renewables.

It claimed the wind farm could affect four of its radar structures, as the turbines could cause false information on the screens, to the point where “a reduction in the radar’s probability of detection, for real targets, is also expected”.

An NERL report said: “The proposed development has been examined from a technical and operational safeguarding aspect and conflicts with NATS (En Route) Plc’s safeguarding criteria.

“Accordingly, NERL objects to the proposal.”

Revised plans, filed earlier this year, state that the site will be decommissioned 25 years after it is built. Paul Stephens, a local farmer and spokesman for Heslerton Wind Action Farm Group (HWAG), said he felt “the price of this environmental contamination is too high”.

Mr Stephens said: “People should be under no illusion that RWE npower renewables are seeking to build an industrial-scale wind farm.

“These turbines will be situated on some of the highest points of the Yorkshire Wolds and will tower over the Vale of Pickering at a combined height of more than 1,000 feet in places.

“The price of this environmental contamination is too high, given the relatively short period of 25 years until decommissioning. The project will provide no long-term local employment and there is growing scepticism internationally about the case for wind power.”

Martin Wood, RWE npower renewables developer, said: “Through discussion with NERL we have identified a solution which would allow the development to be constructed and operated.

“Subject to the details of this proposal being finalised, NERL has confirmed its intention to withdraw its outstanding objection to the proposed scheme.

“The relevant discussions are being progressed and we are both confident of a positive outcome.

“As a responsible developer we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and we would decommission a wind farm as set out in the planning conditions made by the local authority.

“The concrete bases could be removed but on most occasions it is better to leave them under the ground, as this causes less disturbance.

“Contamination from concrete bases left in situ is no different to that of all other concrete foundations used in everyday construction.”