Councillors have rejected plans for two wind turbines amid fears that they will interfere with air traffic control.
Durham County Council’s county planning committee heard that the 100 and 110-metres high turbines at South Moor Golf Club, near Stanley, could affect the tracking of aircraft by controllers at Newcastle International Airport and an air defence radar at Alnwick, Northumberland.
Senior planning officer Ann Rawlinson said the turbines were likely to have an impact on the airport radar because of their scale and siting.
“This could result in air traffic control safety infringements, to the detriment of the safety of transiting aircraft within an operationally important area of commercial airspace.
“The proposed wind turbines, by reason of scale and siting, are likely to have an adverse impact upon RAF air defence radar at Brizlee Wood, Alnwick.
“This could result in a reduction in the probability of aircraft flying over, or in the vicinity of, the proposed turbines being detected, to the detriment of RAF air surveillance levels.”
The airport lodged an objected to the application and the council also received seven letters of objection from people who live near the site.
Ms Rawlinson said: “The proposed wind turbines would have an unacceptable impact upon the surrounding landscape character and visual amenity due to their height, design and siting.”
Plans for a 74-metre turbine at Middle Heads Farm, Rowley, Consett, were approved with conditions, despite Ministry of Defence objections because of the impact on the Brizlee Wood radar.
The application was recommended for refusal by officers but councilors agreed to give permission provided measures were taken to address the MoD’s concerns.
Another 74-metre turbine, between Craghead Lane and Humbleburn Lane, near Craghead, Stanley, was approved despite 187 letters of objection from residents concerned about its impact on the area.
The committee was told by planning officer Allan Simpson that the turbine, due to its scale and design, would “be a highly visible feature”.
He added: “Any impacts the proposed development would have on the wider landscape are considered to be commensurate with the benefits the turbine would provide in terms of the production of renewable energy.”
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