D-day decision due for Garstang turbine

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OBJECTIONS from the military look likely to take the wind out of plans for another towering wind turbine near Garstang.

The Ministry of Defence is worried that plans for the 130m high turbine, at Cross House Farm, Kirkland - four metres higher than the turbine at nearby Dewlay cheesemakers - will interfere with the ministry’s hi-tech radar equipment at Warton.

A decision on the plan is to be made next week, with rejection, based on the MoD’s objections, seeming the most likely outcome.

The plans were lodged with Wyre Council last year by Mr Robert Parkinson of Cross House Farm, and Lancaster-based Wind Direct, the company behind the Dewlay tower, the area’s first turbine.

The Parkinsons had initially been opponents of the neighbouring wind turbine development at Dewlay, but later decided to try for a turbine on their land.

The Courier has learned that a report on the Cross House Farm turbine proposal, and a recommendation to reject it, is to appear on the agenda of next’s Wedensday’s meeting of Wyre planning committee.

The move has disappointed Wind Direct, who are delighted with the success of their Dewlay turbine

Wind Direct spokesman Nicola Mortimer said: “I have been informed by the council that it is their intention to take it to the committee on September 5, with a recommendation for refusal based solely on the ground of an MOD objection.”

The MoD objection, a copy of which has been seen by The Courier, says the planned turbine at Cross House Farm “will cause unacceptable interference to the range control radar at Warton.”

It adds: “Wind turbines have been shown to have detrimental effects on the performance of MoD air traffic control and range control radars.”

The MoD is worried that the Warton radar will be “desensitised” by the impact of a turbine at Cross House , creating “false” aircraft returns “which air traffic controllers must treat as real.”

It adds: “The desensitisation of radar could result in aircraft not being detected by the radar....Maintaining situational awareness of all aircraft movements within the airspace is crucial to air safety, and the integrity of the radar data is central to this process. The creation of “false” aircraft displayed on the radar could result in testing operations being suspended unnecessarily.”

Responding to the objections from the MoD, Miss Mortimer said she was disappointed, especially as in discussions with the ministry, Wind Direct had offered to pay for the updating of the Warton radar as part of the conditions attached to planning approval.

She said: “ Discussions between the MOD, Wind Direct and the council have not resulted in any change of position from the MOD even after Wind Direct agreeing to update the MoDs radar, via the inclusion of a planning condition.”

The planning committee agenda was due to be published yesterday.