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Wind Farms

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the first wind farm planning application was scrutinised by his Department; and for that year, and each year since, how many (a) applications were scrutinised, (b) applications falling wholly or partly within a low-flying tactical training area were (i) approved and (ii) opposed and (c) applications falling wholly outside a low-flying tactical training area were (i) approved and (ii) opposed. [109163]

Windfarm proposals were first regularly scrutinised by the Department in 1998. The Department sees proposals at the pre-planning stage and the figures listed in the table reflect this.

Total number of:
YearProposalsObjectionsLow flying objections
1998213465
199914926
20001615123
200134714545
20021,02724834
The other information requested is not held separately and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors are taken into account in determining whether to approve or oppose windfarm applications in low-flying tactical training areas; and if he will make a statement. [109164]

The Department fully supports the Government's targets for renewable energy. Every proposal received is considered individually by at least seven separate technical advisers, each with their own specialism. The criteria for users is the likely effect of the development on operational capability and the ability to train our pilots safely.The presence of wind turbines in most areas of the United Kingdom presents no difficulty to low flying aircraft as these and other naturally tall structures are taken into account as part of route planning. However, within the tactical training areas, a large proliferation of obstacles is avoided as this would negate the value of the training. For these reasons, wind farm proposals may compromise flight safety to an unacceptable level and result in an objection from the Department.