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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Windfarm plan rejected amid fears it would affect Cumbrian military site

Plans for a windfarm have been kicked out because they might interfere with equipment at a Cumbrian military range.

Councillors have rejected plans to put 15 turbines on a hillside because the Ministry of Defence feared they could hit operations at RAF Spadeadam.

Had proposals been approved they would have seen masts nearly 400ft high put up near Langholm.

The scheme had brought a raft of objections from community groups in an area stretching from Gretna to Lockerbie.

Those arguments were put to Dumfries and Galloway councillors, who denied RES UK and Ireland permission for the scheme, at Solwaybank, Alfordnoughthill.

MoD officials argued that the turbines would have been 27km from – and in the line of sight to – the Deadwater Fell ATC radar at Spadeadam and cause unacceptable interference to the air traffic controllers.

Spadeadam is a key military range, with aircrew from all over the world low-flying there to test electronic targets. The windfarm is also 25km from the seismological recording station at Eskdalemuir and falls within its statutory safeguarded area.

Wind turbines of current design generate seismic noise which could interfere with the operational functionality of the array.

To ensure the UK complies with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty a noise budget has been allocated by the MoD for a 50km radius around the array. The current reserved noise budget has been reached.

The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has also objected, saying the development is in an area where there is insufficient terrain shielding from the primary radar service at Lowther.

A report to the Annandale and Eskdale planning committee stated: “There is still concern that two of the proposed turbines in particular would cause significant adverse landscape and visual effects because of the impact on the scale and character of the settled landscape and the ‘stacking’ and overlapping effect of the turbines because of their layout would have an impact on the area.

“However, it is considered these concerns are relatively minor compared with the overall scale of the proposed scheme.”

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