Farmer set to appeal MOD objection after Fenland planners refuse consent for two wind turbines

David Freeman's farm at Benwick where he wants to put two wind turbines

David Freeman's farm at Benwick where he wants to put two wind turbines - Credit: Archant

The Ministry of Defence has blocked a Fen farmer’s plea to be allowed to erect two 60ft wind turbines after fears they would interfere with radar at RAF Wittering 24 miles away.

Nick Harding, Fenland’s chief planning officer, said he came near to agreeing the turbines and asked the MOD to confirm they would pay the council’s costs if the farmer successfully appealed.

David Freeman wants to build the turbines at Cornerways Farm, Ramsey Road, Benwick, but the council has now accepted the MOD’s opposition and refused consent.

It told Mr Freeman it must abide by the council’s own policy “which states that wind turbines proposals should not adversely interfere with the operation of the radar”.

In correspondence to FDC, Mr Freeman says he is “somewhat bemused” by the council’s decision to uphold the MOD’s objection given the initial support from the planning department.

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He suggested the MOD had failed to supply “any data or analysis in support of their objection” and he said he wants all documentation now available when he lodges an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Mr Harding later told him: “I appreciate you will not be happy by my stance on the matter but I hope that you can see that the council did question the stance of the MOD.”

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Agents for Mr Freeman questioned how four large wind farms encircled the site for his two turbines.

“It is unrealistic for the MOD to suggest any impact by 2x18 metres turbines is unmanageable when there are 70 turbines surrounding the proposed site, 60 of which are 30 metres and above and the MOD manage these on a daily basis,” they said.

They claimed the “suggestion that airspace usage is used as an operational factor to determine this proposal is unjustifiable”. They claimed the airspace above and around the site is class G – open to all users at anytime without air traffic control permission “and usage would therefore be undeterminable and unquantifiable”.

Mr Freeman said he declined the offer of a meeting with the MOD at Sutton Coldfield because they rejected his own offer seven months earlier.

In a letter to planners he says “subsequent intransigence” by the MOD after his first offer had led him to commission an “extremely expensive, specific and detailed radar assessment” when only a simple assessment would have sufficed. He claimed the MOD had been “unreasonable and un-cooperative”.

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