A proposed new housing development near Jodrell Bank Observatory, in Cheshire, has been blocked on the basis that new electronic appliances in the area would increase signal pollution and affect the observatory’s ability to receive radio signals.
The site is 1.95 miles from the observatory, which was established in 1945 by Sir Bernard Lovell and is featured frequently on TV shows, such as Stargazing Live, with presenters such as Brian Cox.
Sajid Javid, Communities and Local Government Secretary, has agreed with the public enquiry’s opinion that, “as an established world class facility, [Jodrell Bank] should be afforded reasonable protection”.
A statement from Mr Javid’s team, states: “The secretary of state… considers that this proposal could damage the world-class work being carried out by the observatory. In his view, the harm to the efficiency of the radio telescope carries substantial weight against the proposal.”
Furthermore, “the protection of Jodrell Bank as a facility of international importance transcends the housing land supply circumstances of the case” and “the reasonable protection of Jodrell Bank Observatory is a matter of global significance.”
Scientists have argued that a new development would take signal pollution in the area to above 10 per cent, with a public enquiry concluding that, “the harm to the efficiency of the Radio Telescope carries substantial weight against the proposal.”
This is not the first time the proposal has been rejected as Cheshire East Council also rebuffed the development last year.
Ainsley Arnold, Councillor of Cheshire East, added: “Jodrell Bank observatory is a vital asset to this borough, the nation and the international scientific community. The protective zone around the telescope has been in place since 1973 and we are very pleased that its importance has been recognised and reinforced.
“As a council, we are doing everything possible to meet the housing needs of our area. However, this was simply the wrong development in the wrong place. It is very good to see that the long-term protection of vital scientific work has prevailed over the short-term high demand in housing supply.
“This further underlines the importance of the ongoing collaboration between the council and Manchester University over operations at the site.”
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