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MoD drops Eskdalemuir guard

Objections withdrawn for wind farms within 50km of seismic station

The Ministry of Defence has withdrawn objections to hundreds of megawatts of proposed wind farms around the Eskdalemuir nuclear test monitoring facility in the south of Scotland.

Military officials dropped the long-standing hurdles as part of interim guidance published yesterday by the Scottish government.

Around 500MW of projects in Scotland and northern England could as a result move towards construction over the next few years. Many others will also benefit in the longer term.

The news was first revealed exclusively in subscriber-only newsletter reNews on 8 May.

The new policy from Holyrood is based on a Xi Engineering review of the science behind vibrational impacts from installed turbines, which interfere with readings from the monitoring station.

Under a revision to the formula used by the MoD for many years, all projects in planning before December last year are now free to move towards final determination.

Additional space in the so-called Eskdalemuir noise budget is also available for new projects.

However details of how much headroom exists must await "a fully functional IT solution being developed" to implement the new science. A first-come, first-served approach will remain.

The MoD will as part of the revised guidance extend the absolute wind farm no-go zone around Eskdalemuir from 10km to 15km. This will not impact any currently planned projects.

The review of MoD science was originally included as part of AES Wind/Wind Energy's public inquiry into the proposed 21-turbine Newfield project.

Image: the Craig wind farm is within the Eskdalemuir catchment (PfR)

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