MoD delay despite green light for turbine plan

Tony Clay from Midlem who has put in for planning permission for a wind turbine on his land.
Tony Clay from Midlem who has put in for planning permission for a wind turbine on his land.

A SCOTTISH Government reporter has approved a single wind turbine at Midlem – provided the Ministry of Defence drops its objection to the plan.

Michael Culshaw backed the 15-metre energy generator as long as a Keele University report concludes that the turbine would not adversely affect the UK’s only nuclear test monitoring station at Eskdalemuir.

The results will then need the backing of defence chiefs – but applicant Tony Clay fears he is still a long way from using wind energy to power his home.

Mr Clay said: “I am disappointed that the MoD do not accept that small turbines within 50kms of Eskdalemuir have less effect than larger turbines outwith the 50km zone.

“Although Keele can carry out their work in a reasonable time scale, the MoD have only one expert to look at the results and he seems to be overcommitted to work on large windfarm appeals.

“The only other turbine model tested by Keele last year is still awaiting MoD consideration.

“This delay was highlighted to the reporter but he has still opted for the easy decision of insisting we wait for completion of the new process rather than accept the case that the turbine is so small it will not affect Eskdalemuir, or rely on the test by Keele without MoD input, which is disappointing.”

The Keele University report is due to be completed by the end of August, but Mr Clay is not expecting an MoD verdict until after April next year.

His application was originally turned down by Scottish Borders Council in February last year because of defence concerns that the “noise budget” around Eskdalemuir had been reached.

Mr Clay appealed and SBC’s review body supported the application in August 2010, resulting in the case being referred to Mr Culshaw.

An MoD spokesperson said: “The MoD remains hopeful that the noise generated by the specific turbine in this instance is negligible and that the report produced by Keele University proves this to be the case. If this occurs, we will not have any issue with the turbine.

“If, however, the report indicates that the noise level cannot be considered negligible, the MoD will maintain its position against the turbine until successful mitigation is found.”