Tag Archives: Wind Turbine

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?


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

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

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

Advertiser: We’re not nimbys but we don’t want turbines here

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

Swindon Advertiser today ran the latest article regarding Hand/Ecotricity’s planning application for three wind turbines on the Honda site.

The controversial plan to put three turbines at the Honda plant, in South Marston, will come before the council’s planning committee on July 12.

There has been a campaign against the proposals since they were unveiled last summer, and lobby group Ill Wind intends to fill the council chamber when it is debated.

The full article is available here.