MEMBERS of a parish council have voiced their displeasure over Honda’s plans to built a wind farm next to a sleepy village.
Councillor Colin McEwen, chairman of the South Marston Parish Council, said the authority and many villagers are opposed to the car giant’s plan because it will create noise for down-wind homes and will create a “strobe effect”, meaning the blades will block the sun for momentary intervals at certain times of the day.
“We are happy that Honda are seeking to minimise their carbon footprint,” said Coun McEwen. “But we feel the impact on the local environment will be detrimental to residents.”
Honda, which began planning the turbines three years ago, is looking to control the ambient temperature in its factory – which was built on the South Marston airfield in 1985 – with wind power.
Coun McEwen said about 40 homes in South Marston would be affected by the turbines – which he said should be a similar size to the generator next to the M4 at Reading.
He said: “When Honda first announced this we asked if the company could move the turbines to the north east boundary, which would minimise some of the problems we expected, and initially they said they could do that.
“However, three months ago they decided to go ahead with their original plans, of placing the turbines in various points of the airfield, after consulting with Ecotricity, a green energy company.
“We were expecting our plans to be adopted, but now we fear that noise and light pollution may be a problem.
“As neighbours Honda are quite reasonable, but we are concerned about the conflict between their strategy and the local impact.”
He also said his hesitation on the issue was strengthened by “recent efficiency figures”, which he claimed were low.
Honda said the project was in the early stages and that it was keeping the local councils fully informed.
A spokesman for Ecotricity said:
“Ecotricity and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd have carried out extensive assessments of the Swindon site to ensure that a wind turbine project proposal is truly feasible.
“The findings show that the four turbines proposed have the potential to generate up to 13 per cent of Honda’s total electrical requirement.
“This is equivalent to the annual usage of over 6,000 homes and could save over 9,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, every year, for the lifetime of the project.
“As with all its wind turbine projects, Ecotricity will be working closely with Swindon Council, carrying out extensive studies and ensuring the project meets its ‘good neighbour’ policy.
“This means that if Ecotricity can’t be sure that a project won’t adversely impact its neighbours (people and wildlife), for the entire lifetime of the project, it doesn’t get built.”