Military object to Shropshire wind turbine over radar fear

Military officials have objected to plans to install a wind turbine in the Shropshire countryside over concerns it would cause “unacceptable interference” to an air traffic control radar at RAF Shawbury.

Wind turbine stock

Plans have been submitted to build a 150ft-high turbine on Long Mountain – midway between Shrewsbury and Welshpool.

The turbine would be installed at Hargreaves Farm near Halfway House and Vron Gate near Shrewsbury.

But the Ministry of Defence has now put in an official objection to Shropshire Council over concerns about its potential impact on RAF Shawbury, which is about 15 miles away from the planned site.

Debi Parker, safeguarding assistant for wind energy for the Ministry of Defence, said the turbine could have the effect of preventing aircraft from being detected by radars at RAF Shawbury.

“The turbine will be 25.2km from, detectable by, and will cause unacceptable interference to the Air Traffic Control radar at RAF Shawbury,” she said.

“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. Controllers use the radar to separate and sequence both military and civilian aircraft, and in busy uncontrolled airspace radar is the only sure way to do this safely.

“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.”

Nobody from the farm’s agents, Roger Parry & Partners, was available to comment.

In a report, the company said the turbine would generate wind energy and reduce costs to the farming operation on the site.

More than 50 objections have been lodged about the proposed scheme, with five letters of support.

The turbine would be 36.7m high, with its blades reaching a height of 46.3m.

It would serve a business that farms 170 acres, with 700 breeding ewes and crops.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Try our beta site!

We’re getting ready to launch our brand new website for shropshirestar.com and we’d like to give you a sneak preview.

We’re still applying the finishing touches, so please bear with us if something’s not quite right.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, via the simple feedback button that you'll see to the right side of every page.

Try the beta