MOD challenge wind turbine planning permission on grounds of ‘National security’
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MOD challenge wind turbine planning permission on grounds of ‘National security’

MOD challenge wind turbine planning permission on grounds of ‘National security’
October 15, 2014 Danny Scrivener

MOD Challenge Wind Turbines in YorkshireThe MOD has challenged the planning permission for two single wind turbine developments in the East Riding of Yorkshire following the omission of key radar related conditions in the planning consent forms.

The two 75m tip height turbines may affect the Air Defence (AD) radar at Staxton Wold, which is one of six Air Surveillance and Control Systems (ASACS) radar distributed throughout the UK. The radar are primarily used to monitor the airspace above and around the UK to detect potential airborne threats.

About the Conditions

The MOD withdrew its initial objections to the two wind turbines on grounds that two key planning conditions be inserted into any planning consent.

The conditions were subsequently ‘omitted’ from the consent forms. The omitted conditions related specifically to the following:

  • The implementation of computer software to enable the radar to distinguish between the presence of the turbines and other aircraft if a technical impact occurs – this is most likely to refer to the implementation of a Non-Auto Initiation Zone (NAIZ).
  • Contribution to a £1 million pool that would be forfeited if the MOD has to relocate its AD radar due to wind turbine interference.

Judicial Review

The MOD urgently requested a judicial review after planning permission was granted without these conditions to ensure that the radar remain fully effective, quoting ‘national security’ as a reason for the challenge. The developer has subsequently argued that the MOD has spent too long compiling its legal challenge.

Radar planning conditions and mitigation

Radar based planning conditions can be difficult to overcome, especially for single turbine developments where the budget for mitigation is considerably lower than for multiple turbine developments.

Radar mitigation costs can vary from several thousand pounds up to hundreds of thousands – in some cases even millions if a new radar is requested or proposed.

If a wind development is subject to radar based planning conditions it is worth understanding the feasibility of overcoming the conditions. Unfeasible planning conditions can mean the difference between constructing or walking away from an otherwise suitable wind development proposal.

The case will now be subject to a full High Court hearing of all the issues raised. We will keep you updated as the story develops.


Image accreditation: “Wind Turbine” by Leilani Elderts / CCBY / Resized from original.


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