Read Cllr Copley's objection to the proposed radar at Cambridge Airport

25 August 2021

Cllr Hannah Charlotte CopleyAbbey Councillor Hannah Charlotte Copley has objected to the proposed new radar at Cambridge Airport. Residents report significant noise and light pollution caused by the existing radar system. The proposed new radar is believed to breach several Local Plan policies. Read Hannah's objection in full below.

For more information about the local campaign against the plans, visit Cambridge RADAAR (Residents Against Airport Disturbance and Radar).






Text of Cllr Copley's objection

I wish to object to 21/03224/FUL (Dismantling and removal of two existing radars and the construction of a new radar and other associated works. | Cambridge Airport Newmarket Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire).

I wish to share my objections and information I have received regarding the radar currently in position, which is in close proximity to residents of Sunnyside, The Westering and The Homing (among others). It has caused immense damage to many residents' quality of life through physical proximity, noise and visual disturbance. For many people this has prevented them sleeping and caused them significant damage to their mental and physical wellbeing. This is not a problem that is affecting one or two residents - this is very serious numbers of people who are reporting their quality of life has been substantially negatively affected due to noise and visual effects. I would like this information to inform the proposal (21/03224/FUL) being considered, which has the potential to have this serious negative affect on a greater number of residents. The current radar in use is just over 14m in height and is located on the East side of the airport, far from any current residential dwellings (AR15 radar, location 521203.07N 0001039.42E).

The proposed radar will stand at 43.3m tall, and spin at 15 times per minute throughout the day and night (see Planning Statement, 3.20). This is not a passive structure, but one that emits noise, produces light affects and is a visual disturbance through movement, with the disturbance being amplified due to its large size and height. I object to any residents being subjected to the same negative outcomes that have blighted the lives of many residents of Sunnyside and The Westering, the radar should not ever have been located so close to residential housing.

Marshall's airport have been involved in plans to develop the "Land north of Cherry Hinton" and the impact (of the current radar, which is much shorter) appears to be being transferred from the housing not yet built to residential dwellings already built around East Barnwell area.

I note in report Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Modifications Consultation Report Joint Representation by Endurance Estates Ltd. and Marshall Group Properties Ltd. from 25 January 2016 that the following was stated:
"Building heights across the majority of the proposed allocation north of Cherry Hinton would be restricted to broadly 8-12m above ground level, given the location of the existing airport radar to the north west of the site. Whilst developable, the design options for parts of the site may be restricted by the radar. NATS has been commissioned to explore alternative locations for a new primary radar." (available on:,65448,65450,65753,65754.pdf)

This rationale is echoed in the documents in the planning portal - stating the radar "currently restricts the height of the development proposed on the land allocated and consented for development to the north of Cherry Hinton" - (Planning statement 1.12, p3). However, the previously stated distance of 8-12m is greater than many residential dwellings, this would not be prohibitive to developing the area (as stated above, "design options for parts of the site may be restricted" but development would not be prevented). Irrespective of the rationale or factors playing into the desire for the radar to be relocated from the East side of the Airport, this does not detract from the following serious breaches of the local plan of proposal 21/03224/FUL which I will now detail.

Please refer to the following Local Plan Policies which I believe 21/03224/FUL breeches:
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 8: does not improve visual amenity with respect to Protected Open Spaces and will permanently damage that and the future Green Belt Corridor extension from Coldham’s Common towards Teversham. Coldham's common is well used and loved by residents from all over the city.
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 34: is proposed to operate and rotate with lighting on a 24/7 basis, drawing visual attention to the H17 high point on the skyline;
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 35: will subject local residents to long-term, tonal and persistent low frequency noise disturbance, with serious risk of harm resulting.
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 55: will permanently blight local environment including Coldham’s Common and so does not create a distinctive or high quality place.
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 60: does not enhance the Cambridge skyline and will be visible as far away as 3km. It is clear this radar will be far higher than the nearby houses and buildings. It will also breech the existing skyline.
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 83: has a significant adverse effect on the environment especially the roads: Sunnyside, The Westering, The Homing, Peverel Road, Barnes Close, Latimer Close, Peverel Close, Barnwell Road, and Coldham’s Common.
H17 breaches Local Plan Policy 84: has not been camouflaged or designed sympathetically to minimise visual impact. Policy 84b requires that telecommunications should be minimised through design and location. This radar proposal has not minimised this through either of design or location. The applicant should instead update the existing location for radar AR15.

We must put the health, wellbeing (physical and mental), and quality of life of residents of East Barnwell as a priority, and I urge the planning department to refuse this proposal for all of the policy breeches listed above.

Kind regards,
Cllr Hannah Charlotte Copley.

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