York & North Yorkshire

RAF Menwith Hill: Spy base radar antenna shelters approved

Menwith Hill Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The listening base plays a role in US and UK intelligence-gathering

A plan for extra radar shelters at Menwith Hill communications and intelligence base have been approved.

The plan for three shelters - called radomes - at the RAF base in North Yorkshire was lodged by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The application, approved by Harrogate Borough Council, would take the number of domes at the base to 37.

The domes, which protect radar antennas from the elements, are often known as the "golf balls".

Hundreds of personnel from a number of international intelligence bodies, including staff from the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and America's National Security Agency (NSA), operate from the site.

Regular protests are held at the station by groups against activities on the base and the presence of international military personnel, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

According to documents lodged by the MoD the proposed additions are "required to meet the operational output of the station".

Harrogate Borough Council found more radomes "would not materially affect the wider landscape as the overall impact would remain akin to the present situation".

The application comes after the council approved construction of a single additional radome in November 2018, due to be built in August 2021.

The council also approved the demolition of  13 buildings at the site last year.

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