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Air traffic services company NATS has signed a  deal with two wind turbine developers that could unlock up to 2.2GW of potential new wind energy across the UK.
The deal, signed between NATS, SSE and Vattenfall, secures the funding to modify two Raytheon-manufactured radar sites – Lowther Hill and Great Dun Fell – to provide a mitigation service in northern England and southern Scotland to the interference caused by wind turbines. Under planning rules, NATS must be consulted on all wind turbine applications in the UK. In some two per cent of cases, the proposed turbines would cause interference to the radar signals air traffic controllers use to direct aircraft. The turbine blades can appear as ‘clutter’ on radar screens and be mistaken for aircraft. The agreement signed between NATS and the developers now means that a technical modification, developed in a three-year programme called Project RM, can be made to the radar. This will provide a mitigation service in the vast majority of cases where there is interference, for the length of the planning consent. Funding has so far been secured for two radar sites with the option to roll the modification out to others and to investigate further improvements to the mitigation as developer demand requires. Project RM is the result of three years’ work between NATS, Aviation Investment Fund Company Limited (AIFCL) Developers, DECC, Crown Estate, Scottish Government and radar manufacturer Raytheon.
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