Wind turbines could cause radar problems

Hotel News - 23/05/2011

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Two new wind turbines slated for installation near Derby may be delayed after concerns were raised about the potential to interfere with airport radar systems. Bosses at East Midlands Airport voiced concerns at the erection of turbines at Raynesway.

Water company Severn Trent is planning to install a pair of turbines on its Raynesway site. Each turbine, once installed, would stand 80 metres high.

According to East Midlands Airport, however, the spinning blades of the turbines could possible create interference for air traffic controllers’ radar screens. Seven Trent responded by saying it would seek a deferral on its planning application at a meeting of city council this week.

Neil Robinson is head of sustainability for East Midlands Airport. He says the airport absolutely does not want to object to wind turbines.

Mr Robinson added that such a move would only be made as a last resort where the airport feels it is necessary to maintain safe operations. He went on to explain that a radar system sees a turbine’s spinning blades as looking very much like an airplane.

He said it was not a problem itself for this to show up on radar but it depended where the turbines are located. The airport itself completed installation of its own wind turbines earlier this month.

Due to their proximity relative to the airport control tower, those turbines have not caused any problems. Me Robinson said a controller at the airport can look out the window to check the location of an aircraft, so it was not a problem.

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