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Friday, 28 November 2014

Turbine danger concerns

FEARS low-flying aircraft could be affected by a towering turbine could lead to plans for the structure being knocked back.

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TURBINE FEARS: An aircraft lands at the Walney Airfield. Fears have been raised a turbine proposed for land nearby may be a safety risk JOE RILEY REF: 0460840

By Gareth Jones

Applications for turbines in Marton and at Sowerby Woods Business Park in Barrow are set to be heard at a meeting of Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

Members of the group are being recommended to accept one of the plans and reject the other.

Council officers have suggested the application for a 5kW turbine at Scale Bank Farm be approved.

A report prepared for the committee concluded the 15m structure would have no visual or ecological impact on the surrounding area.

However, the committee has been advised to reject the proposed 34.2m high turbine proposed by Neil Martin Group Ltd.

Planning officer Jason Hipkiss concluded the development, within the Sowerby Woods Business Park, should be rejected because it could put at risk aircraft flying in and out of Walney airfield.

He said: “In the opinion of the planning authority, the applicant has failed to provide suitable evidence to show that aviation safety within the area would not be compromised by the proposed wind turbine development in the manner identified by the airfield operator.”

Captain Malcolm Sewell, head of flying at Walney Airfield, said the development’s position would cause safety concerns if an aircraft suffered technical difficulties.

He said: “The location is significant because aircraft taking off from that runway will overfly the location within a very short time.

“Should the aircraft develop a problem which means the aircraft will not climb, or indeed if the worst occurred, was unable to maintain height, the area of Sowerby Wood is one which the aircraft captain would be searching for a suitable area to make a forced landing.”

In a statement prepared for the committee, the applicant said it believed it had addressed the concerns of the airfield by reducing the proposed height from 46m to 34.2m.

The company also consulted an independent aviation expert about other concerns raised by the airfield. The committee meets at 2.30pm at Barrow Town Hall on Tuesday.

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