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Airbus raises airport radar concerns over nearby wind turbines

Wind farms could compromise safety at Hawarden Airport by creating ‘false’ aircraft reports and desensitising radar equipment.

Aerospace giant Airbus is concerned that existing and proposed turbines in the area could have a detrimental affect on the airport, which it owns and runs.

To combat that risk the plane maker wants to build a new ‘in-fill’ radar which will help cut out interference from the turbines.

They did not specify which wind farms could potentially affect the airport but guidance from the Civil Aviation Authority said wind farms within 30km of a aerodrome and radar could have an impact on operations.
‘Pro-active’ move from Airbus

A spokesman said: “The proposed development is part of a pro-active move on behalf of Airbus to ensure that the operational efficiency of the site as a functioning airport is not compromised by the potential adverse effects of proximate existing and future wind farm developments.

“Wind turbines have been shown to have detrimental effects on the performance of conventional primary surveillance radar.

“These effects include the desensitisation of radar in the vicinity of the turbines and the creation of ‘false’ aircraft returns which air traffic controllers must treat as real in certain circumstances.

“The desensitisation of radar could result in aircraft not being detected by the radar and therefore not presented to air traffic controllers.

“As a consequence, the existing radar system in operation at the Airbus site is proposed to be supplemented with an in-fill radar, which would be tolerant of existing and future wind farm developments.”

The proposed development comprises the erection of a 25 metre high radar mast in order to facilitate the safe operation of Hawarden Airport.

The airport is used by Airbus to transport wings on Beluga aircraft and also to transfer workers to other sites.

There are also chartered private flights from the airstrip but proposals for public scheduled flights were dropped last year.