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Air Defence Radar Systems and Offshore Wind Sites

Defence – in the House of Commons on 25th March 2019.

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Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Housing)

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that air defence radar systems do not constrain the development of offshore wind sites.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence’s first priority is always to guarantee that the UK is able to meet its national security obligations, which include ensuring that our air defence radar systems can operate effectively. The Ministry is supportive of the offshore wind sector deal, and we remain keen to work closely across Government and with the industry to support this.

Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Housing)

Over half the new offshore wind sites that the Government have announced they will build will affect aviation radar systems. The Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Ellwood, responded to a written question of mine on 20 February, saying that the solution is

“challenging and requires upgraded or new technologies, which are not currently part of the equipment programme.”

Does that not simply mean that the Government’s ability to deliver on that sector deal is going to be hampered?

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The hon. Lady raises an important point because the scale and size of the proposed wind farms are significant. I have been speaking to officials about how we might use the innovation fund, for example, to work closely with the industry to find a solution to this problem.