Press release | 2013-08-19 | 14:45 PM

Government discharges major aviation planning condition

Kent offshore wind farm proposal clears planning hurdle. Vattenfall, the European energy company, and Infratil, the owners of Manston Airport in Kent believe they have successfully tackled concerns about a wind farm’s potential effect on the airport’s radar system.

Vattenfall, which is developing the Kentish Flats Extension (KFE), and Infratil have been working closely together for the last 18 months to produce a mitigation scheme for the up to 17 turbine, more than £150mn project to ensure the airport and wind farm operations can safely co-exist.

Vattenfall revealed recently that it had contracted C Speed, a radar specialist, to install its LightWave radar and provide seamless integration with the Thales Star 2000 which is the airport’s current surveillance system. The LightWave system has been installed at the airport since December 2012 gathering data and is now fully integrated.

Further extensive testing will be carried out as part of the safety case and approval process over the next few months. The excellent results observed to date, together with a range of other mitigation measures has allowed the condition to be discharged by the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Goran Loman, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for the Kentish Flats Extension, said: “Step by step Manston Airport and Vattenfall have developed and implemented a solution which we believe will mitigate the effect of the wind farm on the Thales radar system at Manston Airport. This was a condition of the Government’s consent decision earlier this year.”

“This is a huge step for the renewable energy and aviation industry. It is an excellent example of the two industries working together to overcome some challenging technical difficulties to support the delivery of the UK’s renewable energy ambitions.”

Charles Buchanan, CEO of Manston Airport said: “Manston Airport is proud to be in the vanguard of the efforts to solve the windfarm clutter problem. The measures agreed to mitigate the Kentish Flats Extension are highly innovative and the learning through implementation and approval will no doubt benefit the wider aviation and windfarm industry stakeholders.”

Jon Arden, MD of Osprey which is project managing the delivery of the radar solution, said: “Helping solve the problems caused by wind turbines to aviation radar has been at the core of our business since inception in 2006. We are proud to have been chosen to provide the independent technical expertise required to successfully deliver this ground breaking project. This is our 20th, and most challenging, radar project requiring the development of the first ever safety case for a bespoke mitigation system.”

Vattenfall has not yet taken a Final Investment Decision on the KFE however effectively tackling this radar issue is necessary before a decision can be made.