East Midlands Airport is to become the UK's first airport to install wind turbines to help generate its energy needs.
The busy regional airport, near Nottingham, has been given planning permission by North West Leicestershire District Council to construct four 100-ft high turbines.
The airport says they will generate 10% of the airport's energy, producing up to 225kw of electricity each - enough to power over 500 houses.
The airport, which is operated by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), estimates that the turbines will produce carbon savings of 850 tonnes each year.
Penny Coates, East Midlands Airport's managing director, said: "The turbines are another very substantial investment in environmental management by the airport". East Midlands hopes to become carbon-neutral by 2012.
Last year, East Midlands opened a "green pier" as part of its departure lounge which is heated entirely from 27 boreholes.
The four turbines, which are 103 feet (31.5 metres) high, will be located at least 800 metres away from the nearest residential property. A contractor has not been selected, but the airport says it wants the turbines installed and running by the end of 2008.
Wind Turbines 'Affect Aircraft Radar'
In related news on the issue of wind turbines and airports, another UK regional airport wants stricter planning rules about their construction near airports.
Newcastle Airport says constructing large wind farms has important safety ramifications for airports - because they interfere with aircraft radar and therefore restrict the amount of airspace available.
The airport says this will limit the airport's potential to grow in the future. It wants the government to adopt more stringent planning rules which would force the developers of wind farms to take into account the concerns of airport operators.
Newcastle Airport, in conjunction with the air traffic control provider Nats and the Ministry of Defence, is currently fighting a legal battle against three energy companies who want to build a 59-turbine wind farm north of Hexham in Northumberland. The airport claims this will limit its expansion because of the restrictions it would impose on the current flightpath.
Government Planning Guideline PPS22
Currently, a government planning guideline - PPS22 - says energy companies must check with airports before submitting plans for wind farms to local authorities. Newcastle Airport contend that the developers at Hexham did not do this.
Graeme Mason, from Newcastle Airport, said: "In terms of overall flight safety and our capacity, these turbine proposals are raising real concerns and we cannot go on like this".
Bill Richmond from the British Wind Farm Association said: "We agree we need to find a way around this, we recognise the problems faced on both sides. I know for most developers in the North East, aviation consultation is one of the biggest issues and it is not something that is rushed through or ignored".
The local regional development agency, One NorthEast, also said it was important a solution was found. It said it would work with the government, the airport and the developers to try and seek a solution.
Source - Airport International's Aviation Correspondent
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