A green energy firm has been accused of ‘bully boy’ tactics in trying to head off opposition to a windfarm in Doncaster.
Robin Hood Airport says there could be safety issues affecting take-off and landing because of the tall wind turbines due to be erected on a site between Hampole and Pickburn.
But the developers of the onshore windfarm have asked airport chiefs to withdraw their written objections before Doncaster planning officers consider it.
Consent was granted to RWE npower Renewables for four wind turbines in 2010 but it is due to expire without the scheme being started, so the firm is wanting to renew permission.
The original application was opposed by Hampole Parish Council and 1,200 petitioners, who gained a small victory by persuading Doncaster councillors not to approve a fifth turbine which would have been the nearest to a house.
But parish spokesman Nick Balliger said npower had ‘ridden roughshod’ over the opposition and described its attitude to Robin Hood’s fear over flight safety issues as ‘staggering’.
He said: “Incredibly, npower have responded by trying to get RHADS to withdraw the objection, asking them ‘to seek to withdraw the objection without delay’.
“The letter is quite arrogant and incredible, where npower are wanting RHADS to ignore serious safety concerns. I can’t imagine that RHADS will back down.”
But Mr Balliger added: “My real fear now is that if construction is started in March – within the original planning permission time of three years – the need for the Planning Time Extension approval would not be necessary, and the serious safety concerns of Robin Hood could be totally ignored.”
The airport last night confirmed they would not be withdrawing their objection to the renewal application.
They say the rotating wind turbine blades would be detected by their radar which could lead to ‘clutter’ on the screen which can be ‘highly distracting for a controller and can cause confusion when trying to distinguish between real aircraft and false targets’.
A Robin Hood Airport spokesman said: “It is a known fact that wind turbines located close to airports can impact on the airport’s radar equipment used to assist aircraft navigation, their take-off and landing.
“Due to the location of these particular wind turbines, they would impact on the radar equipment at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield and as a consequence the airport objected to this planning application.
“There are some viable, proven ways to mitigate these issues, however to date none has been put forward by the developer.”
David Jones, the Airport Solutions Manager for npower, said they hoped Robin Hood would remove their objection to the application ‘without delay’ because they had not objected originally in 2008.
“We do not believe the application purely to extend the life of the planning permission for Hampole Wind Farm will have any impact on Robin Hood Airport that warrants an objection. There have been no material changes to the original planning permission,” he said.
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