The Ministry of Defence has now withdrawn its objections to a proposed Carmarthenshire wind farm, despite initial concerns that it could “jeopardise aviation safety”.
The MoD’s Military Aviation Authority had been concerned that the proposed 28-turbine Brechfa Forest West development could affect military radar at Parc Aberporth where unmanned drones are flight tested.
In a series of emails gathered by protesters against the scheme under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD said the development could lead to “unacceptable interference to range control radar at Aberporth”, “desensitisation of radar in the vicinity of the turbines leading to aircraft not being detected” and “false aircraft returns, increasing the workload of controllers and aircrews and leading to a significant operational impact”.
But the MoD has now withdrawn its objections to the development following a “detailed reappraisal” of the application but maintained that the proposed turbines are a “potential obstruction hazard to military low flying activities” and therefore require aviation warning lighting.
The Brechfa Forest West development is set to go before planners later this month.The airspace around the Aberporth site was designated a Danger Area – a segregated airspace for the sole use of unmanned aircraft conducting flying operations – in 2011 as part of the “Watchkeeper” Unmanned Aerial Vehicle project which is currently being tested at the site.While the turbines are not within the Danger Area, it does feature in what the MAA label a ‘buffer zone’ around the area which can “impact on the ability to effectively monitor the Danger Area”.
The MoD said the Aberporth radar is used to separate and sequence both military and civilian air-craft which, in a busy airspace, is the “only way to do this safely.”
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