Safety Fear May End Wind Energy Project; Airport Says Turbines Could Confuse Radar

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Byline: By Dave Black

AIRCRAFT safety fears could make a drugs group drop a plan to use wind power to cut energy costs and help protect 165 jobs at its Northumberland factory.

Bosses at Aesica Pharmaceuticals want to erect two wind turbines next to their plant in Cramlington in an effort to cut its pounds 407,000-a-year electricity bill by about 40%.

But tomorrow, councillors will be recommended by planning officers to reject the green energy scheme for the second time in three months because Newcastle Airport says the turbines would pose a risk to aircraft. Blyth Valley Council refused Aesica's application for two 140m turbines in August after airport chiefs objected, saying the structures would interfere with radar. Now the firm has submitted a revised application - lowering the turbines' height by 30m - but the airport has maintained its opposition.

Yesterday, Aesica finance director Adam Sims said if the revised scheme were rejected, the company would seriously have to consider dropping it.

"We have made significant concessions from the last application and we would have to come to the conclusion that we can't see a way through this. I am just bitterly disappointed and I don't know where we go with this project. Everyone from the Government down is telling us we need to do these environmentally friendly projects and support renewable energy, but here we have nowhere to go. …