June 20, 2012

Turbines shot down . . . by RAF top brass

By Jamie Buchan, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 20 June 2012

Dozens of wind turbine projects planned for Aberdeenshire could be under threat after a “landmark” ruling by councillors.

Members of the Buchan area committee yesterday rejected a bid for a small-scale green energy scheme – based solely on claims by the Ministry of Defence that it could pose a risk to national security.

Military chiefs argued that the rise in wind energy developments across the region means the single-turbine project could cause unacceptable interference to RAF radar equipment.

The decision is expected to have serious repercussions for dozens more turbine developments which have each received near-identical objections from defence officials.

The MoD has so far opposed over 30 applications across Aberdeenshire.

These include a 12-turbine scheme at Mormond Hill, near Strichen, the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre – an 11-turbine scheme planned for Aberdeen Bay – and a two-tower development at Fraserburgh harbour.

In each case, the MoDclaims the accumulative effect of turbines could lead to radars picking up “false” aircraft readings.

Plans for the 90ft turbine at Honeyneuk Farm, Maud, which were discussed yesterday, first came before Buchan councillors in February. They deferred making a decision following criticism they had previously approved three other turbine applications despite warnings by the MoD.

Last month, the committee met military representatives who outlined their concerns. They stressed they were not calling for a blanket ban, but had considered each applications’ impact on RAF Buchan surveillance equipment.

And councillors unanimously rejected the Maud plan without discussion yesterday. And farmer Jim muir, whowas behind the proposal, said: “It’s very disappointing. There was no talk or debate about this. It seemed like it was a foregone conclusion. “This appears to have been a landmark decision. It seems like they’re setting a precedent.

“If it is now a case that no one is allowed to build turbines here, they should say so. It will save people a lot of money in the long run.”

He added: “I don’t think we’ll be making an appeal against this. I think wind turbines have had their day in this part of the world.”

Aberdeenshire councillor Peter Argyll, who chairs the authority’s infrastructure services committee, last night insisted all future turbine applications would be treated individually.

“Every one will be decided on its own merits,” he said.

“But at the same time, councillors will continue to take any objections raised by statutory consultees – like the ministry of Defence – very seriously.

“That is the reason we ask for their opinion in the first place. They are the experts in their field.”

A decision on a second wind turbine proposal, which had also received an objection from the MoD, was deferred after councillors heard developers may be willing to reduce the size of the scheme.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/06/20/turbines-shot-down-by-raf-top-brass/