Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Nocton Fen Wind Farm - aviation

Aviation... and wind turbines

The Importance of Lincolnshire in the Defence of the Realm

Wind turbines can interfere with radar, reflecting microwave signals sufficiently to obscure/erase aircraft from a controllers screen... which for obvious reasons isn't a very good thing when the Vattenfall project is such a short distance from RAF Waddington and other crucial bases.

Current MoD and RAF Stations
  1. RAF Barkston Heath - Home to elements of No 3 Flying Training School (3FTS)
  2. RAF Coningsby - 3, 11, 29(R) Squadrons (Eurofighter Typhoon) and 41 (R) (Test and Evaluation Squadron) (Tornado GR4).
  3. RAF Cranwell - Home to RAF College Cranwell, HQ Air Cadets and Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre'.
  4. RAF Digby - Tri-service command establishment (and also US tri-service presence)
  5. RAF Donna Nook - Bombing range
  6. RAF Holbeach - Bombing range
  7. RAF Kirton in Lindsey - Accommodation unit for RAF Scampton personnel
  8. RAF Scampton - Currently home to the Red Arrows, Number 1 Air Control Centre and the 'RAF Mobile Meteorological Unit'.
  9. RAF Waddington - Home to all E-3 Sentry, Sentinel R-1, MQ9-Reaper and RC-135 Air Seeker aircraft.

Inside Britain's drone base

'RAF pilots in rural Lincolnshire are flying drone aircraft on the other side of the world.'

Tour of RAF Reaper 'drone' base

'Take a tour of the RAF base in Lincolnshire...'

Defence review: 'Spend more' on SAS and drones

'The prime minister will also visit RAF Waddington, the UK's drone base in Lincolnshire, from where operators fly unmanned aircraft over Iraq and Syria.'

RAF jets intercept Russian bomber aircraft off Cornwall

'The Ministry of Defence in London said the Typhoons had been scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.'

RAF Mobile Meteorological Unit

The majority of the RAF Mobile Meteorological Unit (MMU) is based at RAF Scampton. This is a Reserve Force Unit whose role is to provide crucial meteorological (weather) services to our Armed Forces personnel when serving on deployed operations throughout the world.

Winds of change – aviation and wind energy

'The growth of wind energy in the UK has created an increasing challenge for aviation and air traffic control in particular.'

Preliminary Environmental Information

Vol 1. Chapter 15 - Aviation

Para 15.1.3: 'The potential for the Project to have an effect on aviation interests has been considered, either in terms of Air Traffic Control (ATC) radars or flight operations of the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Low Flying System (UKLFS) and aerodrome operations at RAF Waddington, Coningsby, Cranwell and Scampton. A potential effect has further been identified for the UK Met Office Ingham Weather Radar system.'

Para 15.2.15: '... The recommended consultation zone within the vicinity of an aerodrome with a surveillance radar facility is 30 kilometres (km). However, it is acknowledged that objections from beyond the recommended aviation stakeholder consultation distances can potentially be sustainable and valid...'

Para 15.7.3: '... turbines may resemble real aircraft targets and could also mask genuine aircraft returns... The radar may also be de-sensitised by clutter processing within the sector containing turbines, resulting in real aircraft targets disappearing from the radar display screen.'

Para 15.7.5: '... At proposed blade tip heights of 149.5m, the Project is highly likely to cause clutter to be presented on ATC display screens.'

Para 15.7.9: 'The Project is located within LFA11 and may present a restriction to the flow of low flying aircraft.'

Para 15.7.10: '... it is acknowledged that there is an increased risk in low-visibility conditions, where pilots performing high energy manoeuvres could experience a delay in visually acquiring obstacles, such as turbines, hence resulting in a potentially unsafe situation.'

Para 15.10.1: 'It is known that ANSPs have concerns regarding the increasing impact of wind turbines on radar and operations in the region, and it is acknowledged that additional wind development has the potential to lead to cumulative effects. The combined effect of numerous turbines or multiple wind farms can be difficult to mitigate...'

Para 15.10.2: 'There are a number of operational, consented and proposed wind farms, at various stages in the planning process, within 40km of the Project.'

Para 15.10.3: ' None... are located within 20km of the Project as such, this is not likely to present a cumulative impact concern.'

Para 15.11: '...The Project Raytheon Modification solution aims to remove the turbine-generated clutter from a controller's display screen whilst ensuring the essential ability to detect, track and provide navigational assistance to aircraft is maintained.'

Para 15.11.2: '...should a Project RM upgrade to the Claxby PSR be implemented, it is considered likely to be operationally acceptable for mitigation of the effects of the Project on the Claxby PSR. Formal confirmation is awaited; stakeholder consultation is ongoing.'

Para 15.11.3: ' An additional radar sensor can potentially be located within or adjacent to a wind farm... to reject the turbine returns as clutter... to enhance the display by suppressing the turbine returns.'

Para 15.11.5: '... The MoD has accepted a mitigation proposal based on the implementation of a Resolution Infill option, as detailed in Osprey (2014): Nocton Fen Mitigation Strategy Report and agreement is anticipated to be reached through suitable Requirements.'

Para 15.11.7: 'To ensure the continued safe operations of military low flying aircraft, the MoD has stipulated a requirement for the implementation of suitable aviation obstruction lighting...The applicant shall comply fully with these requirements...'

Para 15.12.3: 'The applicant acknowledges that the Project is likely to have a significant effect on the aviation stakeholders... However, the implementation of feasible technical mitigation solutions... would result in the Project having a negligible residual effect on the operations of these receptors.'

Military radar deal paves way for more wind farms across Britain

Thousands more wind turbines can now be built across Britain after energy companies struck behind-the-scenes deals to overcome military objections to wind farms.

Windfarms and the CAA

'The CAA recommends pre-planning consultation to establish both civil and military aviation related issues at the earliest possible stage. We do not formally participate in the pre planning process, however, when a planning application is submitted to a Local Planning Authority the CAA will respond to any consultation sent by the council in question.'

The Aviation Plan: 2015 Update

'In respect of the interaction of wind turbines and aviation interests.'

An interesting extract from p7 'The Task Ahead':
'Whilst there has been clear progress, there is not one single technical mitigation solution that meets operational needs and satisfies safety and regulatory requirements in every circumstance.'

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