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The Ministry of Defence has agreed that wind farms can be built on its land near the Eskdalemuir seismic array site, which monitors the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The decision was taken after a University of Keele study demonstrated that the turbines would not interfere with the sensitive equipment, provided they are not built within 17.5km of the facility. Until now, the MOD has banned the construction of wind farms within 80km of the station.

The decision will give a considerable boost to the government's pledge to generate 10 per cent of the UK's electricity from renewable sources by 2010. According to a report in The Herald a wind farm on the MOD's land could generate up to a gigawatt of electricity, doubling the capacity of Britain's wind farms.

However, the MOD continues to oppose wind farm construction on land elsewhere, citing concerns that the windmills will interfere with radar data. The problem is that the turbines can create false images on radar screens, appearing to be aircraft nearby.

The British Wind Energy Association is starting tests on technology that could help filter these ghost images, potentially freeing up more MOD land for wind farms, The Herald said. ®

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