Tag Archives: Honda

Advertiser: Honda seeks to build energy plant at Swindon site

Swindon Advertiser today ran the following article:

HONDA is looking to build a state-of-the-art energy centre at its factory in South Marston. An application has been submitted to the council that would see the plant provide a portion of the site’s power in renewable form. If successful, the new centre will replace former plans to build three wind turbines, which had been rejected.

Although the centre will take the form of a biomass plant, Honda is keen to stress it is very different from other proposals in Swindon. The company will bring in recycled wood chip which will then be converted into gas. The heating of this gas then provides the energy.

Julian Bliss, a senior staff engineer at Honda, said the new centre would give the company far more energy security in the long term without affecting residents nearby. He said: “The important factor with the system we are using is that there will be no actual burning of wood in the process. This is a gasification process as opposed to combustion. We heat the wood up to incredibly high temperatures without oxygen, which in turn make it a gas. It is this gas which is then effectively boiled which creates heat to turn the turbine. The emissions which are generated are minimal and you will not see fumes pouring out of chimneys.”

When in operation the energy centre will generate about 3.8 megawatts of power at all times of the day. This is the base level of power the plant needs at all times, even when it is not operational. The vast majority of energy it generates will be used to power the factory, although if there is a surplus this will be put into the national grid.

“This will give us much more security with our power as we will not be susceptible to power outages,” said Julian. “It is an efficient energy source and will also mean we are taking less electricity out of the grid.”

If it gets the go-ahead the energy centre will be located on the north section of the plant, with a single stack not jutting above neighbouring buildings and affecting the skyline. An estimated extra 12 jobs will be created as a result of the centre. It will involve an extra 10 lorries entering the site a day on average, but with the current average 591 a day, the company believes the impact on nearby residents will be small.

Honda has met several South Marston parish councillors and given them the outline of what it is they plan to do. Barry Thunder, of South Marston Parish Council, said: “From what we have seen so far, it appears there will be very little actual impact on the village. Although I have not seen the formal plans, what we were shown looked very good. It will not stick out over the skyline and the emissions look as though they will kept low. We will have to wait until the full plans go before the parish council planning committee but at this stage I cannot see there being a problem.”

BBC: Honda to cut 800 jobs in Swindon

Honda The power of dreamsVia BBC News website:

Honda is planning to cut 800 jobs at its Swindon plant, blaming weak demand across Europe. It is the first time the Japanese carmaker has cut jobs in the UK since it began manufacturing there in 1992.

The Swindon plant, which produces the Civic, Jazz and CR-V models, employs 3,500 people, having added 500 to the workforce a year ago.

Honda has begun a 90-day consultation period on the job cuts and says it hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies.

“Sustained conditions of low demand in European markets make it necessary to realign Honda’s business structure,” the company said in a statement.

It added that demand for cars in Europe had fallen by one million in the past year. But Honda said it was still committed to manufacturing in the UK and Europe in the long term.

The Swindon plants built 166,000 cars in 2012, which was well below the capacity of 250,000. It was a big jump from 2011 when 97,000 were produced, but still significantly down from the 230,000 made in 2008.

In a statement, industry group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said it was very disappointing news.

“Despite challenges brought by weak European demand, the longer-term prospects for the UK automotive sector remain good,” SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said. “We hope that those affected will be able to take advantage of the opportunities we know exist throughout the UK sector and its supply chain.”

SMMT figures from earlier in the week showed that UK new car registrations rose by 5.3% in 2012 to 2,044,609 cars, which was the highest number since 2008.

Honda Jazz
Honda Jazz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its figures showed that 54,208 Hondas were registered in the UK last year, up 7.2% from 2011.

About 40% of the cars produced in Swindon are sold in the UK.

Business Secretary Vince Cable visited Honda in September last year to welcome its £267m investment in the UK.

“This Honda story is part of a much bigger picture of optimism, of feeling that Britain is a really good place to manufacture and make cars,” he said at the time.

‘Crisis’ in Europe

The latest figures on car registrations from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shows a different picture to the UK data.

In the first 11 months of 2012, 131,346 Hondas were registered in Europe, down 6.2% from the same period last year.

Earlier in the week, Peugeot Citroen said its global sales had fallen sharply in 2012, which it blamed on “the crisis affecting the European automobile market”. It said that sales had been particularly poor in the recession-hit southern European states.

The ACEA supported this assessment, with registrations in Greece down 41% in the first 11 months of 2012, while Portugal was down 37% and Italy was down 20%.

BMW, on the other hand, said the popularity of its brands had allowed it to overcome challenging market conditions. It reported record annual sales for 2012, including 1% growth in Europe.

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.