Wind farms: Ministry of Defence safeguarding
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The MOD ensures that any planned developments do not adversely impact its operational capability through a process known as safeguarding.
MOD safeguarding ensures operational facilities such as aerodromes, explosive stores, radar facilities and range areas are not compromised by either onshore or offshore development. It is the formal consultation process through which MOD is engaged on development proposals, including those for wind turbines.
Wind turbines can adversely affect a number of MOD operations including radars, seismological recording equipment, communications facilities, naval operations and low flying. These effects are not limited to specific geographical areas.
The wind energy team deals specifically with wind-related developments and processes planning applications and pre-application consultation requests for on- and offshore wind farm developments.
Wind farm pre-application consultation
Developers and local planning authorities should consult with the MOD if a proposed turbine is 11 metres to blade tip or taller, and/or has a rotor diameter of 2 metres or more.
The wind energy team liaises with a broad range of experts to formulate a comprehensive MOD response to each request. Where the MOD has concerns about a development the team will work with the developer to look for ways to mitigate them.
Developers are urged to consult the wind energy team at the earliest possible stage and maintain contact throughout the process so that any MOD concerns can be addressed.
To initiate a consultation, please complete the pre-application proforma which can be found at: Wind farms: application forms for developers.
The minimum information required is:
- maximum hub height above ground level
- rotor diameter
- ordnance survey grid reference (6 figure easting and 6 figure northing) for each turbine
- generation capacity
Statutory and offshore
MOD safeguarding represents the MOD as a statutory consultee in the UK planning system to ensure designated zones around key operational defence sites such as aerodromes, explosive storage sites, air weapon ranges, technical sites and meteorological radar sites are not adversely affected by development outside the MOD estate.
The MOD is also a consultee on the licensing of marine developments and the extraction of hydrocarbon resources in the UK continental shelf area, to ensure offshore developments and activities do not affect strategic defence interests or inhibit the use of designated danger and exercise areas supporting military training and weapon trials.
The statutory and offshore team assesses development proposals in consultation with relevant defence stakeholders and formulates the MOD’s position. Wherever impacts on defence interests are identified, the team seeks mitigation measures to overcome them so that the development can proceed.
The statutory and offshore team also engage in the preparation of development plans governing both on- and offshore development to ensure MOD safeguarding interests are appropriately recognised and taken into account.
Where initial liaison between developers and the wind energy or statutory and offshore teams has been unsuccessful in finding suitable mitigations, the engagements team coordinates MOD technical, operational, policy and legal experts in negotiating with developers. The engagements team aims to reach agreements with developers where their developments and MOD assets, equipment and interests can co-exist.
Should negotiations not achieve the desired outcome the team will escalate the matter to the appropriate level including participation in public enquiries. The engagements team will take all possible steps to ensure that the assets, equipment and interests that are vital to the maintenance, generation and availability of defence capabilities are not compromised.
Defence Infrastructure Organisation
Telephone: 0121 311 3847
Fax: 0121 311 2218
For all wind turbine planning application consultations and enquiries email: DIO-Safeguarding-Wind@mod.uk
For all statutory planning application consultations and enquiries email: DIO-Safeguarding-Statutory@mod.uk
For all offshore planning application consultations and enquiries email: DIO-Safeguarding-Offshore@mod.uk
For all other enquiries email: DIO-Safeguarding-Comms@mod.uk