A potentially deadly blow has been dealt to wind turbine applications in the Wells area.
The Ministry of Defence has raised objections to the application to build a 43.8 metre turbine at Beechbarrow Farm, near Wells, as they say it will “cause unacceptable interference to the air traffic control radar at RNAS Yeovilton”.
In a statement to Mendip District Council planners the MoD says that the negative effects of turbines on radar include the creation of false aircraft signals which air traffic controllers must treat as real.
As well as creating phantom aircraft signals the turbine could hide aircraft from controllers leading to increased workload for both controllers and aircrews, and may have a significant operational impact.
The objection arises from the fact that the turbine will be in line of sight to the airbase.
Planners had received no previous objection from the MOD for a smaller turbine on the same site so the height increase appears to be what has led to their remonstration.
Planners are seeking clarification from the MoD on this matter.
Bristol Airport and National Air Traffic Services found no technical or operational objections to the plans.
There were also no objections were from the Highway Authority or Arqiva, the company responsible for ensuring the integrity of the television signal. However, English Heritage have recommended refusal as they believe it would cause substantial harm to the setting of two scheduled bowl barrows and that there is a high potential for the presence of buried prehistoric archaeology in the area.
These reasons, along with biodiversity issues, led the planning officer, Laura McKay, to recommend refusal in her report to Mendip’s planning board.
However, the decision now rests with a planning inspector whose review of the case could take up to six months.
This is due to an appeal being lodged by developers, Aspire Planning, on the grounds that Mendip failed to give notice of their decision before a planning deadline.
Any comments already made following the original application will be forwarded to the inspector and taken into account.
Those in favour of turbines argue that the country is facing an energy crisis and that the effects of global warming can not be ignored.
It is argued that wind will form a component of a new reduced carbon economy.
In his letter on page 29 Guy Calder, chairman of a company that wishes to build a turbine at nearby Maesbury Farm, says that the future of windpower is a decision that will affect future generations.
Supporters of Action Against Turbines on Mendip, AATOM, gathered in Wells Market Place on Saturday to protest against wind turbine proposals around Mendip.
During the morning they collected 150 signatures supporting their cause.
Join the debate on wind turbines. Send your views to Editor, Wells Journal, Southover, Wells, BA5 1UH or email email@example.com.