Western Isles planners have controversially approved erecting a wind turbine 30 miles from a military radar base despite a history of being taken to court by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Council chief executive Malcolm Burr warned councillors of that recently the local authority lost a High Court judicial review when the MoD stopped a number of turbines not far from an air defence radar at Clettraval, North Uist.
In similar cases, the Scottish Government refused permission following planning hearing for turbines for a community wind scheme by Clachan, North Uist, beside the Dark Island Hotel in Benbecula and two turbines on a croft in Bornish South Uist.
Despite this councillors on the planning committee voted 8-3 to erect the turbine at Askernish Golf Club in South Uist.
The decision is likely to be called-in by the Scottish Government or face legal action from the MoD.
Though it would replace a smaller machine on the site, the MoD objected to the 10KW turbine which would be about 70ft high.
The military agency insist it will cause unacceptable interference to the radar.
Its objection said: “The probability of the radar detecting aircraft flying over or in the vicinity of the turbines would be reduced, and the RAF would be unable to provide a full air surveillance service in the area.”
Planning officials recommended refusal but Cllr David Blaney successfully made a motion to approve.
Mr Blaney said: “Any impact would not be significantly adverse given the existing wind turbine in the same place.
“A turbine has been operating there for long enough and if it has been interfering with the radar then the MoD has not taken steps to remove it.”
Due to identical MoD objections, the same committee refused permission for Scottish Water to erect nine wind turbines at treatment plants at North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist in addition to an island resident’s bid to build a turbine near his house at Snishival, South Uist.
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