Winds of Change

The main research windmills at NREL
The main research windmills at NREL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Renewable energy has its place in planning for Britain’s future energy needs but do you want a wind farm right on your doorstep?

Proposed changes to Swindon Borough Councils Core Strategy and Development Management Policies mean that safeguards and protections in the old plan which recently helped to prevent Ecotricity from building three gigantic 120m wind turbines on the doorstep of South Marston have been swept away in favour of a blanket declaration that renewable energy projects such as wind energy should be encouraged.

Worse still, the new plan designates specific areas that are Wind Turbine Areas of Search that the revised plan identifies for active consideration and Highworth, Hannington, South Marston and the eastern villages of Wanborough and Liddington are right there on the front line. A map included in the new Core Strategy shows a broad area of land just to the north of Highworth for example, where development of wind farms is considered suitable and desirable.

Last year a concerted campaign saw thousands of Swindon residents voice their concerns about the revised plan in the consultation exercise that SBC initiated and well over 800 people from this side of Swindon specifically wrote in to ask for just one simple protection to be included in the Core Strategy. That there should be a 2km gap between any proposed wind turbines and residential housing. Nothing radical here, it’s been adopted by other Councils and is under debate in Parliament for a national planning restriction. But unfortunately, despite the unprecedented response to the Core Strategy consultation, Swindon Council has to date ignored residents’ requests.

Honda, to its great credit, eventually recognised that their proposed wind turbines were not suitable so close to residential housing and opted instead for a Solar Farm on the edge of South Marston. However, if the same case had to be argued again, Highworth, or any other parishes, wouldn’t have the same protection to make sure the correct decision is reached.

We need to make sure that our elected Councillors are aware of the genuine concerns and get this one simple, 2km rule included, or the whole public consultation process will be seen to be a sham!

Contact your Councillors and your MP to make sure they are aware of your concerns. And you need to do it now, because the consultation period is coming to an end.

Ill Wind

8 thoughts on “Winds of Change”

  1. I think it is naive to believe Honda acted altruistically. The Solar Farm was always part of their strategy and relied on the fact everyone was so pre-occupied with the Turbine issue that the Solar Farm went through on the nod.

    As for renewables in general what has to be realised is that this is an EU/IPCC directive, HMG have little or no control over the renewable targets. LA’s are responsible for ensuring carbon reduction targets are met by all businesses. It is perhaps ironic that those who probably believe the myth of man made global warming are the same ones who have objected to wind turbines, the consequence of the Al Gore Dooms Day scenario.

    So perhaps people should protest about the whole lie of MMGW and you may well then achieve a reduction in the need for renewable projects.

  2. There is some evidence that large scale Wind Farms can cause climate change, altering the kinetics of the wind (including speed and moisture content). Far fetched? An area in China claims that it has suffered serious drought problems since a nearby wind farm opened and there has been a suggestion that the US could build thousands of on shore and off shore turbines down the east coast to try and cut the destruction from hurricanes by altering the climate, obviously this could deflect the hurricanes elsewhere. It is possible that the rush for free energy by wind farms is actually causing more climate problems than solving them. Reducing carbon dioxide levels doesn’t really solve greenhouse gas problems as water vapour is a much more significant greenhouse gas. There’s so much else to say about greenhouse gases that I’ve now had an e-book published called ‘Climate Change and Global Warming’ available on Amazon and Lulu and from my website at
    I’m on holiday staying in South Marston next week (July 9-13th)..

    1. An interesting claim, that is almost impossible to prove.

      I think that you may have been extrapolating wildly from a recent scientific study.

      The study, published in Nature, found a “significant warming trend” of up to 0.72C (1.37F) per decade, particularly at night-time, over wind farms relative to near-by non-wind-farm regions.
      However Prof Zhou pointed out the most extreme changes were just at night and the overall changes may be smaller.
      Also, it is much smaller than the estimated change caused by other factors such as man made global warming.

      Don’t confuse local climate variation with global climate change. The Heat Island from urban development is much more significant on local climate change than the levels indicated here.

      On the plus side, I don’t think that the excess rainfall that you are likely to be experiencing during your upcoming stay in South Marston will be due to the wind turbines at Westmill.

      1. A further article pointing out some of the flaws with the ‘Wind Farms => Global Climate Change’, is here.

        If it were true that the spinning blades of wind turbines increased the overall temperature of the planet, as opposed to simply redistributing thermal energy, we would have to rewrite some basic laws of physics, particularly the 1st law of thermodynamics. This is an important distinction from the burning of fossil fuels, which produces gas that increases how much of the sun’s energy the Earth retains. In this respect, this process contributes to a globally warming climate because the source of energy (the sun) is apart from the system that is warmed (the Earth.)

        The reality is that any alternative energy source is going to present problems. Over the past two years, there has been scientific investigation of whether wind turbines can affect the health of proximal residents, though the legitimacy of “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, as it was called, was widely questioned. Natural gas has its problems with fracking, nuclear energy with radiation, and even solar cells with electronic waste. This recent study was merely exploring a similar issue in wind energy, but only so that we might effectively deal with it.

  3. There have been a number of different studies on this topic. Some say that wind farms increase the temperature by 2c at, night others that temperature increases at night and decrease during the day. Some more recent ones indicate that temperature increases both day and night by 2c. Suggestion is that wind shear and friction are the cause of this increase. Really shows that you can prove almost anything by statistics.

    I have seen the results of one study which indicates that wind can be deflected upwards by wind turbines, but I’ve lost the website address, and can’t remember how high the wind reached. Perhaps some glider pilots could confirm or deny this?

    I am not actually against windmills in general, after all they have been around for a thousand years. Living in Scotland where there is a much higher number of wind generators (in proportion to the population), makes me wonder if this amount of generation should be encouraged or curtailed, especially as the latest turbines are going to be over 150 metres high (460+feet).

  4. To set the record straight–there can be no dispute that both solar farms and wind farms can produce a significant amount of energy. The difficulties arise when they are pushed through under the guise of benefit to mankind or the community. The facts however are quite simple.
    If constructed in the wrong place there can be numerous problems.
    For example the panels installed which were sneaked through planning that extended through our village. Did you see the comments in the Swindon Advertiser where Bob Feal-Martinez claimed to have aided that planning–which will create problems for future generations on the edge of the village. These panels are not what was claimed and are inferior panels manufactured by the chinese–sent to germany for filming and passed off as german technology-whilst every body was distracted by the debate about the Honda turbines. Those turbines never stood a chance of achieving planning and Honda had already invested in a significant amount of solar roofing panels. Honda are already at the forefront of Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology which could indeed revolutionise electricity generation and transport–the ultimate green fuel.

    1. On my recent visit to South Marston, I saw these panels in a field, Not really what tourists want to see. What people generally don’t realise is that wind farms and solar Panal arrays (like in South Marston) require the ground beneath to be dug up to connect them all to an electric connector for connecting to the National Grid (or to a factory). This can destroy field drains and contribute to flooding as the water will then go straight into rivers instead of being absorbed by the soil. Farms should be for crops NOT metal monstrosities.

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