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MoD accused of turbine ban bid

PUBLISHED: 17:35 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 July 2010

THE Ministry of Defence has been accused of trying to put a "blanket ban" on onshore windfarm development in East Anglia.

Objections to turbines on the grounds of radar interference have led to developers warning they could be forced to scrap future windfarm plans in the region unless the planning climate changes.

THE Ministry of Defence has been accused of trying to put a “blanket ban” on onshore windfarm development in East Anglia.

Objections to turbines on the grounds of radar interference have led to developers warning they could be forced to scrap future windfarm plans in the region unless the planning climate changes.

Representatives of four regional companies, Wind Power Renewables, Mellinsus Renewables, SLP Energy and Enertrag UK, will lobby MPs and officials for less prohibitive planning procedures.

Their move comes after an MoD letter was leaked - sent to every planning authority in the UK - reminding them “of the importance of ensuring proposals from windfarm developers are submitted to the MoD at the pre-planning stage to ensure any concerns we have are adequately assessed and addressed”.

The letter gives the assurance that

the MoD will try to work with developers, but Andy Hilton, who runs Windpower Renewables from his Catfield home, said practical evidence from the past three years did not support this.

He said: “I am currently working on five projects in Norfolk and Suffolk - at Catfield, Bacton, Wyverstone, Stalham and one near Norwich - and the MoD has raised concerns about them all. They say turbines at Wyverstone would affect their Trimingham radar -and that must be 70km away.

“Almost anywhere you put a planning application they say it will affect their radar. It seems they are trying to achieve a blanket ban on onshore windfarms in East Anglia.”

Mr Hilton was project manager during construction of the Scroby Sands offshore windfarm, but insisted onshore wind was a vital part of

the energy mix as offshore projects were three times as costly and “90pc

of the UK coastline is totally unsuitable”.

Kerry Gauntt, a spokesman for Lowestoft-based SLP Energy - which has withdrawn its application for four turbines at Hemsby for further consultation in the wake of concerns, including those raised by the MoD - said: “If we cannot change the planning climate in the next 12 months we will have to look outside the east of England for onshore wind development and that will be a real shame for the region, not least in terms of employment.”

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