Tag Archives: Ill Wind

Ill Wind – Gone with the Wind

English: The three primary types of wind turbi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year saw 5 parish councils and well over 800 Swindon residents react to a Planning Department document that pointed to areas, including Highworth, Hannington, South Marston, Tadpole Farm and the eastern villages of Wanborough and Liddington as areas appropriate for wind turbines. In response, the residents and local parish councils asked that the Local Plan should define a minimum separation distance between any proposed wind turbines and residential housing.

There is nothing radical here, it’s been adopted by other Councils and figures in a bill before Parliament for a national planning restriction.

Hopes were raised when Councillor Dale Heenan, speaking of the Local Plan, said ‘the specific wording is still being discussed but I wouldn’t be surprised if it includes separation distances of 1km’. In the event, and despite Dale Heenan’s best intentions, the Planning Department’s views prevailed and the proposed Development Plan does not include a minimum separation distance.

Ill Wind, a group of local residents, successfully opposed a planning application for wind turbines overlooking Stratton and South Marston. They were concerned about the growing evidence about impacts on health, disturbance from noise and shadow flicker and the damaging effects on neighbourhoods that would be overlooked by giant moving structures of a size that would dwarf any building currently in Swindon.

Ill Wind are urging Swindon residents who don’t want to live to close to wind turbines to voice their objections to the anti-democratic way the Local Plan is bypassing the consultation process and being railroaded through to a February 21st deadline. If you are interested, and want to help, visit their website, illwind.co.uk, for more details.

Ill Wind – Do you live in a wind turbine area of search?

The image below is an illustration of a map which appeared in Swindon Borough Council's "Draft Core Strategy". It shows, in red, "areas of search" appropriate for large scale wind turbine development within the Borough. This document has been revised and is now called the "Draft Local Plan".  The map has been removed, but the commitment to large scale wind turbine development remains.
The image below is an illustration of a map which appeared in Swindon Borough Council’s “Draft Core Strategy”. It shows, in red, “areas of search” appropriate for large scale wind turbine development within the Borough. This document has been revised and is now called the “Draft Local Plan”. The map has been removed, but the commitment to large scale wind turbine development remains.

Local residents successfully opposed a Planning Application to build 3, 120m high wind turbines in Swindon that would have been less than 300 metres from the nearest house, with 5000 homes and families within 2km of the turbines.

They did this because of the effects on the health and wellbeing of residents and the visual impact on the landscape. Effects that, in some cases, have been so extreme as to drive people living near wind turbines to sell their homes at reduced value and move away.

Ill Wind wants to avoid residents having to fight that same battle again and again as developers apply to build turbines in different sites across the borough knowing that once one site is approved the floodgates will open.

Although the Draft Plan says “Large scale wind-turbines (individual or collectively) are unlikely to be supported in close proximity to residential properties”, without a definition of “close proximity” we are at the mercy of the whims of SBC’s Planning Department. The same Planning Department that previously ignored all evidence presented by local residents and independent experts and recommended that three, 120m high turbines be built just 278m away from Swindon homes.

Ill Wind, many Parish Councils and well over 800 individuals asked for the new Core Strategy to include a minimum, typically 2km, separation distance clause – but it hasn’t appeared in the revised version.

Other Councils have done it – so why not Swindon?

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

There is a 9 week public consultation from Thursday 20th December 2012 until 6pm on Thursday 21st February 2013.

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

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.

Ill Wind Update – Sept 2011 (updated)

Wind turbine
Image via Wikipedia

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.