Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Turbines would have "detrimental" effect of military radar in Wembury

By REBECCA RICKS
PLANS to erect two wind turbines in Cornwall would cause "unacceptable interference" with a Ministry of Defence Air Traffic Control radar in Wembury, it is claimed.
Officials from the MoD have objected to the proposals arguing that air traffic controllers would be forced to respond to "false" threats created by the interference.
It is the latest objection by the MoD to applications for wind turbines. In February, The Herald reported how the MoD had objected to plans for three, 81-metre (266ft) turbines on Mendennick Hill, between the villages of St John and Millbrook submitted by Truro-based REG Windpower, for the same interference reasons.
Now applicants Ian and Richard Lobb have submitted their plans to Cornwall Council for the two 50kW turbines to be erected on land south west of Kestle Farm in St Ewe.
The turbines measure 25 metres to hub and 35 metres to tip, with ancillary equipment.
The MoD claimed that as a result of desensitisation unknown aircraft would not be detected, meaning enemy aircraft could sneak into British air space.
The objection reads: "Wind turbines have been shown to have detrimental effects on the performance of MOD ATC and Range Control radars.
"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.
"The desensitisation of radar could result in aircraft not being detected by the radar and therefore not presented to air traffic controllers."
Although the turbines will be 51.3 kilometres from the ATC radar, they will still remain detectable and will cause unacceptable interference to the ATC radar at Wembury.
Controllers use the radar in Wembury to separate and sequence both military and civilian aircraft.
The MoD added: "Maintaining situational awareness of all aircraft movements within the airspace is crucial to achieving a safe and efficient air traffic service, and the integrity of radar data is central to this process.
"The creation of 'false' aircraft displayed on the radar leads to increased workload for both controllers and aircrews, and may have a significant operational impact.
"Furthermore, real aircraft returns can be obscured by the turbine's radar returns, making the tracking of conflicting unknown aircraft (the controllers' own traffic) much more difficult."
South West Water also commented that the location of Turbine 1, "will cause interference to one of SW Water's telemetry radio links.
"SW Water's telemetry radio network provides control and monitoring of clean and waste water services across the region, interference to this radio link could cause problems with the provision of our services to customers in the locality."
A decision on the application is expected to be made next week.