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Radar dispute may scupper Angus windfarm plan  

Credit:  By Graeme Strachan | The Courier | 4 April 2016 | www.thecourier.co.uk ~~

A radar mitigation row looks likely to spell the end of a six-turbine windfarm on the outskirts of Forfar.

The Govals windfarm, which is just off the A90 trunk road, was previously refused in May 2013 before the decision was successfully appealed.

The Scottish Government Reporter approved the application in December 2013, subject to 22 planning conditions, which included a ban on work starting until a “radar mitigation system” had been agreed with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Such a system is a scheme designed to mitigate the impact of the development upon the operation of the Watchman Primary Surveillance Radar at RAF Leuchars and the air traffic control operations of the MoD.

The timescale for work to start on the windfarm – meeting all conditions – is December, otherwise the controversial planning application will lapse.

The applicant, David Cooper – on the advice of agent Green Cat Renewables, recently proposed an amendment that argued work should be able to start but that no turbines would be built until the radar mitigation scheme was approved.

They argued that if they started work and no radar approval was forthcoming in the next four years they would restore all of the land where there was building work, which would have included the laying of new roads, cables and turbine foundations in preparation for the windfarm.

Ray Gibson, spokesman for Angus Communities Windfarm Action Group, said: “The applicants and his agent showed utter contempt to the planning system wanting to start work immediately.

“That was despite the fact that they have been speaking to the MoD for seven years regarding radar without any success.

“And no evidence was provided that a solution was in sight.

“They also said that they would restore the area – roads, cabling, turbine foundations – if no MoD agreement could be reached by 2020.

“But they took no account of concerns of residents who faced the possibility of a double dose of heavy construction traffic, noise and dirt.”

Angus Council planning chief Iain Mitchell said: “Through its commencement this development could potentially lead to cumulative capacity being unavailable for other renewable developments to fulfil this contribution within Angus.

“For these reasons the proposed amendment could undermine Angus Council’s ability to contribute towards Scottish Government renewable energy targets and objectives to deliver a low carbon economy.”

It now appears unlikely that a deal will be thrashed out with the MoD before the planning application lapses in December.

Source:  By Graeme Strachan | The Courier | 4 April 2016 | www.thecourier.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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