Wind turbine plan for city stalls over radar concerns

Research: Mick Lovatt and Coun Robert Boswell with the test mast in February

Research: Mick Lovatt and Coun Robert Boswell with the test mast in February

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Experts ‘working hard’ to find solution so £50m scheme can go ahead, council told.

PLANS for a possible wind turbine project worth up to £50m to Preston have stalled for the time being, councillors have been told.

But urgent steps were being taken to overcome possible interference with aircraft radar equipment.

Preston Council signed a £250,000 contract last year with engineering and design consultancy, Hyder Consulting (UK) Limited.

It was part of a possible plan which could see a wind farm with turbines around 80 metres high built on the Preston Docks estate.

But Coun Robert Boswell told Preston Council this week that a planning application would not be submitted until major issues had been resolved. He said there were concerns about the masts interfering with planes’ radar.

BAE Systems’ airfield is just down the estuary at Warton.

Coun Boswell said negotiations were taking place to resolve the problems.

In the meantime council officers had urged caution owing to the expense involved in the application process.

Environmental impact assessments and other reports would be needed to support the application.

Coun Boswell said it had been decided that there was no point in putting forward a plan for submission until it was felt it had a chance of success.

He added: “Officers are working extremely hard to find a fix for this problem.”

Preston Council believes the project could benefit the local economy by up to £50m over the next 25 years .

Plans for a test mast were given the green light in 2013.

But it had to go back before councillors after alterations to the mast’s design and an extension of the test period from one year to two.

The original plan had been for a lattice design mast, but that was upgraded to a solid pole secured by guy wires.

The test mast was to assess whether the winds were strong enough and frequent enough to sustain three turbines to generate electricity.

The 80-metre test mast was assembled in February – but ran into problems because it was too windy.