Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Turbines Could Be Cleared for Take-Off after Breakthrough; Expansion on Cards If RAF Is Seen Off

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Turbines Could Be Cleared for Take-Off after Breakthrough; Expansion on Cards If RAF Is Seen Off

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

FEARS were voiced last night that more swathes of moorland and countryside will come under pressure from wind farm developers following a potential solution to military objections to turbines.

The Ministry of Defence has objected to a number of large-scale wind farm schemes across the UK because of their potential to disrupt radar systems - which find it hard to distinguish between aircraft and the whirring blades of giant turbines.

Now it appears that green energy companies have found a way to overcome the objections by buying new mobile radar systems, each costing about pounds 20m, from a US defence contractor.

It has been reported that the systems have been shown in tests to be able to differentiate between aircraft and turbines, ensuring that MoD early warning systems remain effective in detecting enemy planes and missiles.

Fresh fears have now been raised that thousands more wind turbines could be built across Britain - including Northumberland and the Scottish Borders - because of the technological breakthrough.

It is claimed that a deal has been struck in the past few weeks to install one of the mobile radar systems - a Lockheed Martin TPS-77 built in the USA - in the Borders to overcome objections to a 48-turbine wind farm at Fallago Rig, planned on land owned by the Duke of Roxburghe.

Reports suggest the system, the cost of which would be shared by a number of energy companies, could pave the way for about 12 more wind farms in the area.

The issue of radar has been a stumbling block to a number of wind farm proposals in Northumberland, including at Wandylaw, the Ray Estate near Kirkwhelpington, Green Rigg Fell and Kirkharle.

Last night Don Brownlow, a member of the former Moorsyde Action Group which opposed turbines near Berwick, said the radar developments were not good news for anti-wind farm campaigners.

"It is obvious that if they have sorted out the radar issue it is going to open up even more areas of Northumberland and the Borders to exploitation. …

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