Turbine rejected after MoD radar concerns

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Buchan councillors last week rejected a wind turbine application after strong objections from the Ministry of Defence.

The proposed plan involved a single 20kw turbine at Honeyneuk Farm, Maud, with councillors being told that the Ministry of Defence opposed the application due to potential radar interference at RAF Buchan.

The MoD, who is a statutory consultee, claimed that the cumulative effect of wind turbine activity could negatively impact on defence equipment. Officials say the green-energy project could cause RAF radars to detect false readings.

Tony Moran, who is a Senior Communications Officer at the Defence Intelligence Organisation, said: “Trials carried out in 2005 concluded that wind turbines can have detrimental effects on the operation of radar, including the creation of “false” aircraft returns. The probability of the radar detecting aircraft flying in the vicinity of the turbines would be reduced, and the RAF would be unable to provide a full air surveillance service in the area of the proposed wind farm.”

The proposed turbine is one of more than 30 projects in Aberdeenshire which have been opposed by the ministry.

The suggested 27-metre high turbine at Maud appeared before the committee in January 2012 but was deferred for further consultation with the MoD.

Councillors were invited to a meeting about the windmill proposal with defence officials on May 14. Military officials have said they are not calling for a moratorium on building new turbines but that each case should be assessed on its own merits.

The Ministry of Defence was the only one of a dozen consultees to oppose the Honeyneuk development.

In addition to MoD concerns, one representation was made opposing the turbine and highlighted potential problems including shadow flicker, the impact on the natural landscape and noise and visual problems.

Speaking about the proposal, Councillor Norman Smith said: “The MoD have objected to a lot of wind turbines recently. I think something will have to be done or we will be unable to pass any new turbine projects.

“It certainly puts councillors in a difficult position.”