- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Ministry of Defence fears Maesbury turbine could risk helicopter safety

Military and civilian aircraft would be endangered by a wind turbine proposed for a remote Mendip hamlet, the Ministry of Defence has warned.

Helicopters from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton fly in the area around Maesbury, near Wells, where the 54-metre turbine is proposed.

Turbines have been shown to desensitise radar and create false ‘returns’ of aircraft, confusing air traffic controllers.

In a written objection to the scheme the MoD says: “Controllers need to separate and sequence both military and civilian aircraft. In busy uncontrolled airspace, radar is the only way to do this safely.”

Yeovilton is set to become the largest base in the UK with hundreds of helicopter movements a day.

A spokesman for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation said: “Maintaining situational awareness of all aircraft movements within the airspace is critical to achieving a safe and efficient air traffic service, and the integrity of radar data is central to this process. Anything else can be dangerous.”

Locals and the Mendip Society are also fighting the proposal, saying the landscape, which includes a hill fort scheduled monument, would be spoiled. The BBC has warned that reception in 4,185 homes could also be affected, but applicant Quarsol Ltd maintains that it would mitigate any problems.