Tag Archives: Ecotricity

Advertiser – Honda disappointed at turbine decision

Swindon Advertiser today ran a more detailed article regarding the outcome of Thursdays planning committee meeting regarding Honda’s application for Wind Turbines:

The town’s second biggest employer has said bosses are disappointed after the council took the decision to reject their green plans.

On Thursday night, Swindon Council’s planning committee rejected Honda’s plans to put up three large wind turbines on its South Marston site.

It said the visual impact would be to much. Continue reading Advertiser – Honda disappointed at turbine decision

BBC – Honda’s wind turbine plans rejected – updated

The BBC ran the following article today regarding the Wind Turbine planning meeting last night:

Plans by Honda to build Wiltshire’s first wind turbines have been rejected.

The car company had proposed three wind turbines to power its plant near South Marston in partnership with energy supplier Ecotricity.

Planning officers had recommended Swindon borough councillors approved the plans.

However, councillors voted against the application by nine votes to three abstentions. Honda said it would now consider whether to appeal.

Residents said the 394ft (120m) high turbines would be be too large and noisy.

South Marston-based protest group Ill Wind said even though Honda had suggested scaling back the plans to two turbines they remained too close to homes at a distance of 1,935ft (590m).

Andy West, from the group, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We don’t want these turbines in Swindon because they’re totally unsuitable.”

Councillor Dale Heenan said the committee had been “between a rock and a hard place” when making the decision.

“On the one side, as councillors, we’re here to represent residents and on the other side of the argument the applicant is one of the biggest employers in the town.

“On balance the committee decided the application for the three wind turbines was inappropriate at this time.”

Honda had argued it was essential to keep its Swindon car and engine manufacturing site one of the world’s most efficient while also meeting internal targets to reduce its carbon footprint.

In a statement it said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the decision, however, we will be discussing our options with Ecotricity over the next few days.”

Advertiser – Council says no to wind turbines

A wind turbine at Greenpark, Reading, England,...
Image via Wikipedia

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,...
Image via Wikipedia

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.

Swindon Advertiser: Anti-turbine campaigners warn ‘the battles not over yet’

Enercon E-66 wind turbine with an observation ...
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Swindon Advertiser, yesterday ran an article on the latest state of the Honda Wind Turbine planning application:

CAMPAIGNERS against giant wind turbines have issued a rallying cry: ‘We’re not out of danger yet’.

The Ill Wind campaign group is delivering around 5,000 leaflets to houses in the South Marston and Stratton area, warning supporters that despite an apparent concession over the number of turbines, “the risk to you is greater than ever before”.

The group fears the original plans for three wind turbines at Honda, not two, are still likely, and it is urging no let-up in the fight.

Ecotricity, the company behind the plan, says it will settle for two if that is what the council wants.

But Des Fitzpatrick, chairman of Ill Wind, casts the campaign as a David- versus-Goliath style battle against corporate spin, and urged residents “not to be fooled”.

He said: “Following recent press headlines, radio and TV broadcasts many people in Swindon now believe Honda have reduced their application from three turbines down to two.

“This just isn’t the case and we are distributing thousands of leaflets explaining that the application is still for three turbines – and pointing out that, even were Honda to go for two turbines, there would still be thousands of homes within the two kilometre zone that many authorities regard as too close.

“Though we are individuals battling against the spin machine of a multi-billion pound international company, we will continue to keep the people of Swindon informed of what is really happening.”

Ecotricity would build and own the 120 metre turbines, and Honda would host them at its South Marston factory. The firms have not withdrawn the original planning application for three turbines, but because of the massive public outcry, they did agree to settle for just two if they have to.

This suggestion was tacked on to the existing application, which is due to be voted on by the council’s planning committee later this year.

No date is yet set for this meeting, but it is likely to be in mid-October.

In a joint statement, Ecotricity and Honda reacted to the Ill Wind campaign.

The statement said: “The decision on whether three, two or no turbines are approved sits with Swindon Borough Council, but Honda and Ecotricity have made it clear that if they chose to approve two turbines we would accept this and progress with a development of only two.

“If only two turbines were approved, the same planning committee which had refused the third turbine, would have to approve any amendment to build a third, and this would, therefore, be very unlikely.

“There is no intent, nor would be any opportunity, to build a third turbine on this site if we received permission for two.

“The latest Ill Wind leaflet also repeats a number of falsehoods and inaccuracies about issues including vibrations, sleep and safety that are at risk of confusing or even scaring local people.

“We’d encourage people to contact us directly if they have any specific concerns.”

Ill Wind Update – Sept 2011 (updated)

Wind turbine
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Despite reports in the press, Ecotricity are still applying to build three turbines. Swindon Borough Planning Dept have stated ‘…..the application remains for the full three’.

Two turbines is an option the Planning Committee could choose if they reject the application for three turbines. Ecotricity would later apply to the Council to build the third turbine. This would be an easier process than submitting a new application or appealing against a refusal of their application for three turbines.

It is more important than ever that as many local residents as possible attend the next planning committee Meeting to protect their homes and families from the effects of the turbines.

We do not yet know the date and venue of the Planning Meeting when the revised application will be heard, but look out for the next illwind leaflet within the next week or so when we will have more information for you.

Visit illwind.co.uk for the latest news

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.

Letter from Honda / Ecotricity – 23/8/2011

The following letter was sent on 23rd August 2011, by Honda and Ecotricity.

Ecotricity Logo

 

 

23rd August 2011

Dear Sir or Madam,

Reviewing all the information and comments we have received from Swindon Borough Council and the local communities, Honda and Ecotricity have put forward an alternative proposal for two wind turbines only. The wind turbine originally proposed towards the north side of the site, which was closest to residents, will not be included in the alternative option. We believe this alternative option for two turbines will still make a valuable contribution towards the ambitious business efficiency and environmental targets Honda has set itself, both globally as a company and locally as a site.

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.

The plan on the reverse of this letter shows the alternative option and which turbine would not be progressed if the Council approved only two turbines on the Honda site. Swindon Borough Council will now consider this alternative option and we hope they will be able to make a decision on the application by early October 2011.

Honda and Ecotricity maintain an open communication approach with our local community. Further information can be found on Swindon Borough Council’s website and Ecotricity’s own website at www.ecotricity.co.uk/honda

Document Number: 4530_T0348_01

Swindon Advertiser – Wind turbines in the limelight of Wyvern stage

Swindon Advertiser today ran an article about the latest development in the Honda Wind Turbine development story

THE Wyvern Theatre will host a very different kind of cabaret next month as members of the council’s planning committee take to the stage.

It has been selected as the venue for a one-off meeting to decide whether to accept plans for three giant wind turbines at the Honda site at South Marston.

The proposals have sparked a groundswell of public anger, with the last meeting being called off for safety reasons because of too many protesters trying to cram into the council chamber.

So the 635 capacity theatre, more accustomed to hosting plays and musicals, will be used instead – and it promises to be ‘quite a show’ said one campaigner.

Andy West, 44, who lives at Kingsdown Park, near the proposed turbines, is worried yet more space will be needed.

“The last meeting had to be deferred because they couldn’t fit them in, and with the Wyvern I think they’d be struggling to fit the people in,” he said.

“Take all the people at the last meeting, all the people who didn’t sign in, and then you’ve got council officers and committee members. You’re up to 600 before you start.”

Ill Wind, the group campaigning against the turbines, is still calling for people to turn up.

“As long as people can participate in what’s going on it is fine. What we don’t want is a situation where the council is trying to close the door on hundreds of people outside,” said Andy.

“It should be quite an interesting day, I would have thought. It’s going to be quite a show.”

Although the venue and date have not been formally rubber-stamped, planning committee chairman Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe) said it was expected to be September 8.

Security will be present on the evening, and doors open at 5pm. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Speakers will be able to hold the floor for up to three minutes, but with more than 30 registered speakers at the last meeting, it looks set to be a long night.

Marketing manager Gina Banks, 44, of Highworth Road, said: “I’m not surprised. I think it sends a very strong message to the council, so many people are concerned about this application. For me, this isn’t an argument against Honda, Ecotricity, or wind energy. The issue is the proximity to our houses of this application.”

The wind turbines will be the only item on the agenda.

It was 10 years ago that the council had to use the Wyvern as a meeting place. Then it was also for a planning meeting to discuss Wichelstowe.

The Wyvern did not have anything booked on September 8, so no performances had to be cancelled or moved.