Air passengers might worry about bird strikes, or even drones disrupting their flights, but now planes taking off and landing from Glasgow Airport have been made safer – from the threat of wind farms. A high tech radar system installed at the airport is designed to ensure wind farms in its vicinity do not cause problems for pilots and air traffic controllers. While they might not appear an obvious concern, the height and movement of wind turbines can have a disruptive impact on aircraft. They can be detected on traditional radar screens, mimicking real aircraft so readily that they have to be avoided by other planes, and can distract air traffic controllers. As a result, the airport says, wind farms can have a detrimental impact on the safety, efficiency and capacity of its local airspace. But the airport’s new radar system, Terma SCANTER 4002, mitig ates this effect from turbines, and as a result will allow the development of the 26 turbine Kype Muir Wind Farm to go ahead near Strathaven, Lanarkshire. By law the airport must be consulted on any wind farm development plans within a 50 kilometre radius. Britain’s largest onshore windfarm, Whitelee, south of Glasgow is nearer to the airport, and while the airport has measures mitigate its impact, the equipment is limited and was installed nearly two decades ago. However a spokesman said the more advanced radar system could eliminate concerns about turbines, effectively “removing” them from the air traffic control picture on an individual basis. He said the airport must be sure that any proposed wind farm development did not pose a risk to the nine million-plus passengers using the airport every year, but the new system should allow it to support both Kype Muir and other future proposals.
Herald 31st Jan 2019 read more »