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Defence chiefs to blow out wind turbine plans

Objections from the military look likely to take the wind out of plans for another towering Lancashire turbine.

The Ministry of Defence is worried that plans for the 130m high turbine, at Cross House Farm, Kirkland, near Garstang – four metres higher than the turbine at the town’s nearby Dewlay cheesemakers – will interfere with the ministry’s hi-tech radar equipment at Warton.

A decision on the plan is to be made next week, with rejection, based on the MoD’s objections, seeming the most likely outcome.

The plans were lodged with Wyre Council last year by Robert Parkinson, of Cross House Farm, and Lancaster-based Wind Direct, the company behind the Dewlay tower, which became the area’s first turbine and saw more than 300 objections lodged.

The Parkinsons had initially been opponents of the neighbouring wind turbine development at Dewlay, but later decided to try for a turbine on their land.

It is understood that planning officers at Wyre Council intend to recommend rejecting the scheme.

Wind Direct spokesman Nicola Mortimer said: “I have been informed by the council that it is their intention to take it to the committee on September 5, with a recommendation for refusal based solely on the ground of an MOD objection.”

The MoD objection says the planned turbine at Cross House Farm “will cause unacceptable interference to the range control radar at Warton.”

The MoD is worried that the Warton radar will be “desensitised” by the impact of a turbine at Cross House , creating “false” aircraft returns “which air traffic controllers must treat as real.”

It adds: “The desensitisation of radar could result in aircraft not being detected by the radar…maintaining situational awareness of all aircraft movements within the airspace is crucial to air safety, and the integrity of the radar data is central to this process.

“The creation of “false” aircraft displayed on the radar could result in testing operations being suspended unnecessarily.”

Responding to the objections from the MoD, Miss Mortimer said she was disappointed, especially as in discussions with the ministry, Wind Direct had offered to pay for the updating of the Warton radar as part of the conditions attached to planning approval.

She said: “ Discussions between the MOD, Wind Direct and the council have not resulted in any change of position from the MOD even after Wind Direct agreeing to update the MoDs radar, via the inclusion of a planning condition.”