Tag Archives: Des Fitzpatrick

Advertiser – Fears over expansion

Swindon Advertiser recently ran an article regarding the fears of locals over the uncertain nature of the councils expansion plans:

THE eastern villages expansion and protection against wind farms are some of the key issues in the new St Margaret and South Marston ward.

The ward, made up of some of the existing St Margaret and Blunsdon wards, covers Stratton St Margaret, Lower Stratton, Kingsdown and South Marston.

Colin McEwen, a long-serving parish councillor and former chairman of South Marston Parish Council, said he wanted the new borough councillors to ensure the community has a say over the quality and design of the new Eastern Villages.  Continue reading Advertiser – Fears over expansion

Advertiser – Council says no to wind turbines

A wind turbine at Greenpark, Reading, England,...
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The Swindon Advertiser reported last night on the outcome of the Wind Turbine planning meeting:

THERE was a standing ovation at the Wyvern Theatre tonight as hundreds of members of public performed miracles to prevent the erection of wind turbines at the Honda plant in South Marston. Continue reading Advertiser – Council says no to wind turbines

Swindon Advertiser – Ill Wind slam Honda’s compromise plans

A wind turbine at Greenpark, Reading, England,...
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Swindon Advertiser today ran an article regarding the upcoming planning meeting regarding Honda’s planning application for Wind Turbines on their site.

WIND turbine campaigners have slammed Honda’s formal offer to compromise over its plans – days ahead of a meeting to decide whether the controversial project can go ahead.

The car firm says it still wants to build three 120-metre turbines at its plant, in South Marston, but it is now offering Swindon Council the option to grant approval for only two turbines.

To support the alternative, Honda and green energy firm Ecotricity have submitted an additional environmental impact assessment document for just two turbines.

However, members of the Ill Wind campaign group say that removing the turbine – the one closest to Highworth Road – still means that two turbines will be too near to houses and could cause negative health effects.

A special meeting of the planning committee to determine the application will take place at the Wyvern Theatre on October 13 at 6pm, with doors opening at 5pm.

Des Fitzpatrick, 64, of South Marston, who is chairman of Ill Wind and will speak at the meeting, said: “They’re still applying for three, but even were they to apply for two, we wouldn’t be happy with that. What we’ve asked for is to see a minimum separation between turbines and houses of 2km and we’ve backed this up by saying this is a standard recommendation in Scotland and also on two bills in Parliament at the moment. So even with the two turbines option, they would be within 590 metres of residential housing so we wouldn’t be happy with that. “

“People typically think that the visual impact is the main concern, and of course that’s a concern: these turbines are half as big again as the David Murray John building. But also of great concern is the noise. There’s a lot of evidence that the closer you live to turbines, the more downsides there are. We have submitted evidence to the council that the turbines this close cause noise which will be detrimental to health and wellbeing.”

Andy West, 45, of Stratton, who is also a member of Ill Wind, said there was little difference in noise levels for many residents from the removal of the turbine – and claimed the only way to mitigate this would be to move the turbines further away.

He said: “It’s scant difference. The basic problem is no one should be living next to those turbines and people will be. You cannot play with people’s health like this.”

He added: “It’s critical that people go to the meeting to defend their homes and families.”

Colin McEwen, the former chairman of South Marston PC, said the two-turbine option would not really help South Marston.

He said: “It’s the turbine that’s closer to Stratton that may be removed so it doesn’t affect South Marston so much. The turbines closest to South Marston would remain even if that compromise was agreed. And those are just too big and too close to the village.

The turbines project is part of a bid by HUM to reduce its carbon emissions by a minimum of 30 per cent by 2020 to meet both environmental and financial pressures.

Mike Godfrey, the divisional manager and chief engineer at Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM), told the Adver this week, : “Either by design or through technical mitigations we have put in, the issues of flicker and vibration will not be an issue for our local residents.

“And that’s been verified by third party consultants, Halcrow, and approved by Swindon Borough Council’s planning officers.

To register to speak at the planning meeting, email Iain Tucker, the committee officer, at itucker@swindon.gov.uk or call 01793 463605 . The deadline to register is noon on October 12.

This is Wiltshire – Honda has a rethink on Wind Turbines

Logo for 'This is Wiltshire'ThisisWiltshire.co.uk ran the following article following Honda’s alternative proposal for a two wind turbine installation at their South Marston site.

THE widely panned plan for three giant wind turbines at Honda’s car plant has been scaled down.

Honda and Ecotricity say they are now prepared to settle for just two turbines in response to public pressure – with the one closest to residents’ homes being removed.

But it comes only a fortnight before a council planning meeting was expected to take place, which would have decided whether to allow them to be built.

Now the meeting is likely to be moved to November to discuss the proposal.

Under the new proposal, the size and shape of the two remaining turbines remains the same.

The only difference is the one nearest Highworth Road being rubbed off the blueprints.

Campaigners are claiming it as a victory for public opinion.

Des Fitzpatrick, 64, of South Marston, chairman of lobby group Ill Wind, said: “The expression of massive public opinion in opposition to siting wind turbines so close to homes and schools has forced Honda to think again. It is great to see local democracy having an effect.

“It is clear now that Honda and Ecotricity realised their planning application would fail to meet acceptable standards on noise, flicker and visual impact and that the planning committee would reject it.

“As to the future, we will have to see the revised proposals but if this just amounts to moving the deck chairs on the titanic, we will continue to fight against building giant turbines in inappropriate places.”

And Gina Banks, 44, of Highworth Road, said: “It’s good news – that one was far too close to us. But I’ll be interested to see what happens. It’s positive that Honda seem to be listening to the reaction of people.

“We would still be able to see turbines two and three from our properties regardless. It’s less of an impact of course, but for the guys in South Marston, they’re still 600 metres away.”

Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe), chairman of the planning committee, said: “It’s very unusual to come at the last minute like this. But it shows the company has been very responsible and receptive to change.”

The new proposal was put in jointly with Honda and Ecotricity, the company which will build and install the turbines.

An Ecotricity spokesman said the move does not represent a new planning application, but was only additional information which will be set before the planning committee.

In a joint statement, the companies said: “Taking into account the strength of local opinion at the two previous planning committee meetings, this offers a pragmatic workable solution that addresses the concerns of the local community, whilst enabling Honda to remain competitive in a global market and reduce its environmental impact.

“Honda and Ecotricity still firmly believe that all three turbines originally proposed are viable, and this is reflected in the fact that they have been previously recommended for approval by Swindon Borough Council.

“If this was not the situation, Honda would not have presented three turbines to Swindon Borough Council for consideration.”

Ecotricity has sent 700 letters to residents to explain the change.