What is NATS position on the development of wind farms?

NATS recognises the importance of renewable energy and treats every application on its merits. We object only where we believe the turning ‘sails’ could affect radar coverage.

Wind farms operating near airports, or in prominent positions with a line-of-sight to radar installations, can affect radar in two ways:

  • Causing shadows (an aircraft might not be picked up on radar)
  • Causing clutter (i.e. where the large-scale moving blades show up as blips on the radar screen).

The government and industry have reached an agreement that aims to remove aviation and radar barriers to the major expansion of wind energy.

In this agreement, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and the British Wind Energy Association agreed to:

  • Explore innovative technological solutions to air defence and air traffic radar, as well as radar absorbent wind turbine technology
  • Shorten pre-planning times, by introducing a web-based screening tool for the early stage of planning
  • Establish a new Aviation Management Board, which reports directly to ministers
  • Work with industry to establish financial and staffing resources dedicated to finding solutions
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