THE battle over the installation of three new turbines at Honda’s Swindon plant took a new twist last week as a parish council voiced its objections to the plan.
South Marston Parish Council unanimously agreed at a meeting last Tuesday to oppose the proposal for three 120m-high wind turbines, to be situated several hundred metres from residential housing.
It follows a decision by Stratton St Margaret Parish Council to support the plan after a brief representation from South Marston campaign group Ill Wind.
Stuart Young, the vice-chairman of the parish council, said: “Although supportive of the concept of renewable energy generation, we wanted to ensure that we understood the rationale behind this application and the arguments for and against.
“Consequently, we have attended a number of meetings with concerned villagers, including a large public event that attracted more than 125 people, as well as visiting the proposed sites at Honda.
“We have also conducted our own independent research on the Internet.”
“We will also be asking that the parish council is given the opportunity to speak at the Swindon Borough Council planning meeting.”
Neil Burchell, the chairman of Ill Wind, said: “I’m very pleased that the parish council took the time and the attention to review the application in detail and assess the impact.
“They certainly listened to the views of the residents.”
Representatives from the group, South Marston Parish Council and Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson met those from Honda and wind energy firm Ecotricity last Thursday to discuss the turbines.
Sam Tipper, the head of corporate communications at Honda, said: “Together with Ecotricity, Honda of the UK Manufacturing has spent a number of months conducting detailed environmental studies as part of the planning process for the installation of three wind turbines at the Swindon plant.
“In June, we started the most important part of the proposal: Sharing our plans with the local community.
“We welcome any feedback from local residents during this planning application period.
“We have always been open and worked with the local community and would welcome them at Honda at any time.
“It is important to us that we are always open with the residents.”
Justin Tomlinson said: “They were extremely open and transparent and it was a very productive meeting.
“There were a lot of technical questions and a lot of technical answers that came back.
“It was not a meeting where either side was expecting an agreement but it was positive and the residents used the opportunity to voice their understandable concerns.”