HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc48-9W
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she will take to find other sites for offshore wind farms should any of the present sites be rejected on grounds of possible interference with military radar. [55576]

Mr. Wilson

The sites in the first round of offshore windfarm developments were selected by developers who then made applications for site leases to the Crown Estate, as landlord of the seabed within territorial waters. Of the 18 projects there are no Ministry of Defence objections to 13. The Ministry of Defence are in dialogue with the remaining five developers and would hope to bring the matter to a successful conclusion.

The Department is working closely with a wide range of organisations to develop a strategic framework for the next stage of windfarm development and hope to issue a consultation document in the autumn. Part of the programme of work will seek to identify potential areas of the sea for further windfarm developments, taking into account a range of factors, although ultimate site selection must be a commercial decision for the developer. Each windfarm development would be subject to the usual consenting process.

We are also working actively with the Ministry of Defence on several collaborative projects which are designed to address the specific problem of wind turbines on radar, and siting issues more generally.