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Wind Power

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average time taken by his Department was to respond to the receipt of a wind farm developer's application using the Department's developers pro forma in each of the last five years; and what the target response time is for such applications. (184410)

The average time taken to provide an initial response to completed wind energy pre-planning consultation pro forma, in each of the past five years is:

Response time (days)

Number of pre-planning applications

2003

156

913

2004

165

714

2005

110

738

2006

95

806

2007

70

906

1 Note: The figures for 2003 and 2004 are estimates based on the paper records kept at that time.

Although we have no formal target, we aim to provide an initial response within 56 days. This aspiration was based on the response times in 2003-04, but the complexity of applications since then has meant that the response time has regrettably been longer than we wish. We have, however, reduced the time taken in each of the last two years and aim to further reduce the time taken in future years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings his Department has had with wind farm (a) companies, (b) organisations and (c) associations to discuss objections to wind farm applications on the grounds of radar clutter in the last 12 months; and what the outcome was of such meetings. (184411)

Many meetings take place with wind farm stakeholders covering numerous issues, including radar clutter. The Ministry of Defence has a number of concerns with turbines over and above effects on radar; for example, low flying and seismometers. Moreover, wind turbines have a number of effects on radar of which clutter is only one.

The information requested is therefore not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what requests for meetings the Department or Defence Estates has received from wind farm developers to discuss objections to wind farm applications on the grounds of radar clutter were declined in each of the last three years; and what the reasons were for the requests being declined. (184412)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many wind farm projects submitted to the Defence Estates using his Department's developers pro forma were rejected in each of the last three years; and what percentage of projects this represented in each of the years concerned. (184416)

At the pre-planning stage, Defence Estates does not reject applications, but makes developers aware of concerns which the Ministry of Defence would wish addressed before a formal planning application is submitted. In each of the past three years, the number of wind energy pre-planning consultations received by Defence Estates with which it raised concerns is:

Number of wind energy pre-planning consultations to which the MOD raised concerns

Percentage of total wind energy pre-planning consultations received by MOD

2005

303

41

2006

387

48

2007

251

28

These figures include both offshore and onshore applications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings the Department has held with wind farm (a) developers and (b) consultants to consider allowing on site his Department's technical and operational staff to discuss with the developers technical issues for specific sites; how many requests for such meetings with developers have been rejected by his Department; and whether it is his policy to allow such meetings to take place in normal circumstances. (184418)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is always willing to do what is practicable to engage with developers and their consultants to address concerns with proposed wind turbines.

In some cases a meeting will be appropriate to discuss issues, including any mitigation being proposed. In such instances the MOD personnel participating in those meetings will be decided according to the requirements of the case to be discussed.

However, the Department has held no meetings, with either wind farm developers or wind farm consultants, with the specific purpose of considering whether to allow MOD personnel from affected sites to discuss with developers technical issues for those sites. Neither has the MOD declined requests for such meetings.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pre-application enquiries to his Department or Defence Estates for onshore wind turbines received an objection from his Department in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the overall number of pre-application enquiries received. (184431)

The total numbers of onshore wind energy pre-planning consultations received by the MOD with which the MOD raised concerns in each of the past three years are:

Number of onshore wind energy preplanning consultations to which the MOD raised concerns

Percentage of total wind energy preplanning consultations received by MOD

2005

302

41

2006

386

48

2007

250

28

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what planning applications for onshore wind turbines have received an objection from the Department in each of the last three years; at what stage of the planning process these objections were lodged; and what percentage this represented of the overall number of onshore wind farm applications to which his Department had been invited to respond. (184432)

In each of the last three years, the number of onshore wind energy planning applications to which this Department objected is:

Total number of planning applications received

Number of onshore wind energy planning applications to which the MOD objected

Percentage of total number of objections raised to wind energy planning applications

2005

74

10

13

2006

78

12

15

2007

70

9

13

Records show that on only one occasion was a Ministry of Defence (MOD) objection lodged after the application was considered by the appropriate consenting authority. In that case planning permission had been refused and the developer lodged an appeal. The planning Inspectorate granted the MOD permission to participate in the inquiry, which has been postponed to allow further discussion regarding the MOD's objections.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what planning applications for onshore wind turbines the Department did not initially object to but objected to during a public inquiry in the last three years; and what the reason was for the objection in each case. (184433)

There has been no occasion on which the Ministry of Defence objected to a planning application for an onshore wind farm development during a public inquiry after previously not raising an objection.