Official: Churchover windfarm ‘may endanger planes’

An opponent's picture of the Upper Swift Valley, where the turbines would be sited
An opponent's picture of the Upper Swift Valley, where the turbines would be sited

Concerns about the safety of aircraft could scupper plans for a windfarm in Churchover.

The proposal, for four turbines each more than 100m tall, is due to be discussed by Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

But Nathan Lowde, council officer dealing with the case, recommends that councillors refuse permission – because the masts may interfere with a National Air Traffic Service station in nearby Pailton.

In his report to the committee, he writes: “The benefits associated with this scheme are not sufficient to outweigh the impact of the proposed development upon the performance of NATS Pailton Air-Ground-Air Voice Communications systems which could in turn jeopardise aviation safety and efficiency.

“The proposed development has been examined by technical and operational safeguarding teams and a technical impact is anticipated, and this is deemed to be unacceptable.

“It is considered that all the proposed turbines would breach the safeguarding guideline and that no mitigation at present can be sought to overcome this objection.”

The application, made by energy firm RES, has been the subject of opposition from many of those living nearby. Concerns have focused on its potential effect on the appearance of the rural area.

Campaigners against the scheme are organising a St George-themed rally outside Rugby town hall on April 23 at 5pm, before councillors decide whether to grant permission.

But RES project manager Dan Patterson believes the windfarm would benefit those living nearby from more than £1m of investment.

He said: “This gives people living and working in the Rugby area the opportunity to be part of a green revolution.

“If it is approved, the wind farm could generate enough renewable electricity to meet the annual needs of around 5,400 homes.”