I am writing to express my concerns about passenger safety at Newcastle International Airport, which is the UKs 10th busiest and which handled 4.5 million passengers last year.
In 2008 there was a public enquiry into an application by Vattenfall to build 16 wind turbines on the Ray Estate near Otterburn, in Northumberland, at which Newcastle International Airport lodged strong objections on the grounds of radar interference.
The turbines are huge at 125m, some 410ft tall.
The then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband announced he was minded to consent the Ray project, despite the advice of a planning inspector to refuse it. This was on the basis that a solution could be found for the radar problem within five years of the planning consent.
However, when I enquired of the airport’s senior planner in the last few days about whether a working, safe solution had been found, she declined to answer.
I find this astonishing. Surely if a solution had been found, they would want to trumpet the success.
And the problem is that the turbine parts are due to be delivered within the next few days.
Sadly, my understanding is that the wind developer does not have to prove the mitigation fix works so we have no way of knowing whether passengers using Newcastle Airport will be truly safe, or whether this is just another accident waiting to happen.
Or maybe there was another ‘solution’ found that both parties agreed to?