Radar operation safety compromised without mitigation

The erection of a 90 metre high wind turbine in east Yorkshire was subject to considerable opposition by the ministry of defence (MoD) who argued that it would have an adverse impact on the operation of a key air defence radar station.

The MoD argued that the radar station which lay 33 kilometres from the site was used for air surveillance, tactical control and air traffic services. The proposed turbine would have a cumulatively adverse impact on its performance taking into account another 16 machines in the area which had had an adverse impact.

A new radar system had been installed and was undergoing trials in an attempt to provide better performance but until that had been tested no further turbines should be permitted, the MoD claimed.

An inspector noted that the appellant had proposed the use of non-auto initiation zones as a means of mitigating the impact but the MoD maintained its objection because no detailed scheme had been submitted. In the inspector’s opinion imposing a ‘Grampian’ or negatively worded condition requiring the submission of such details was inappropriate because there was no guarantee that a solution could be found nor that the new radar equipment would be effective.

Government guidance was clear in resisting energy infrastructure which would significantly impede or compromise the safe and effective use of military aviation. Since it would also have a moderately adverse impact on the character of the area it would not comprise a sustainable form of energy development and the appeal was dismissed.

Inspector Martin Whitehead; Hearing

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