Tag Archives: Wind Turbines

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 The firms have not withdrawn the original planning application for three turbines, but because of the massive public outcry, they did agree to settle for just two if they have to.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.”

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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.

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.

Advertiser – Delay in decision pleases campaigners

Swindon Advertiser today reported on the outcome of last nights planning meeting regarding Honda’s Wind Turbine application.

CAMPAIGNERS were able to breathe a sigh of relief as controversial proposals to build three 120 metre wind turbines were not given the go ahead last night.

Councillors on the Swindon Council planning committee voted seven against six for a motion to defer the application from Honda and sustainable energy firm Ecotricity for another month.

This will allow officers to provide more evidence in relation to the objections of ward councillors and residents.

Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe) proposed the motion to defer after hearing from representatives of Ecotricity, Honda and local residents.

He requested the council planning department produce a report setting out the legal grounds for refusal of the application.

“I don’t think we have the information to make a considered view,” he said.

Grant Macpherson, a director of Honda UK, said he hoped the application would be granted as it would help the firm achieve environmental targets.

He said: “The target for Honda in Swindon is a further reduction in CO2 emissions by 24 per cent by 2020. Some may say the application is controversial but all of us at some point are going to have to accept our responsibilities.”

Opposition to the plan has grown since it was announced last summer, with campaigners saying that each electricity-generating turbine would be almost the size of the 135m London Eye Ferris wheel.

Last night more than 100 people with ‘No’ placards gathered in the council chamber at the Civic Offices, in Euclid Street, to hear the decision.

Hazel Beaver, a South Marston resident and member of protest group Ill Wind, asked the committee to consider residents’ feeling against the proposal, saying: “Please recognise the strength of local opposition.

“We have got over 1,800 names on a petition and there have been nearly 400 personal letters sent to the planning department.

“We want Swindon Council to play safe with its residents’ health.

Coun Russell Holland (Con, St Margaret) said that if the committee were to grant planning permission it would open the doors to other wind turbine applications.

He said: “You would be setting a precedent here. As long as you have conditions you can build them where ever you want.

“It’s wrong for Swindon and the recommendations are built on shaky conditions. The residents are clearly right.”

Swindon Advertiser: Residents in spin about turbines

On 30th July, Swindon Advertiser ran the following article about the Emergency Village Meeting regarding Honda’s proposed Wind Turbines:

AROUND 100 residents attended an emergency meeting to voice their opinions on Honda’s plans for three 120m wind turbines at their east Swindon site last night.

Ad hoc protest group Ill Wind called upon residents in Stratton and South Marston to raise objections before the consultation period ends on August 13 at a meeting at the South Marston Hotel.

Honda, in conjunction with green energy firm Ecotricity, are looking to follow several other buisness in using green energy to power its plant, including the Green Park in Reading. The three turbines combined would produce enough electricity to power 5,300 homes a year, an Ecotricity spokesman said.

Residents’ main concerns centred around noise levels, ‘shadow flicker’ and the height of the turbines. Ill Wind displayed flicker and noise maps, provided by Ecotricity, for residents to look at.

Neil Burchell, chair of the campaign, said the group wanted to inform people about the facts surrounding wind farms and wanted residents to make up their own minds.

What we want to do is to share with the villagers some of the concerns that have been raised,” he said.

We know we need new ways of powering our homes and wind farms are clearly part of that but we do feel they need to be in the right place.

“I don’t think we can be accused of being those who say ‘not in my back yard’ – we have two industrial estates and a dual carriageway nearby.

Mr Burchell said he had invited a representative of Ecotricity to the meeting but they had declined.

But he said he was hoping North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and a representative form Ecotricity could attend a working group meeting next Thursday.

Ann Ensure, of Rural England, said residents needed to write to the council to appeal for more time.

We want an extension of timing to allow parish councils and working groups to tap into specialists who can look at this properly.”

Chris Bowdidge, 40, of South Marston said his main concern was for public health, particularly low frequency sound and vibrations.

There is a concern about low frequency sound waves which don’t seem to have had any recognition and can cause lung and heart problems.

Jill Hopes, 72, of Stratton, said she agreed with green energy but not with the proximity of the turbines.

She said: “I don’t want to oppose it or protest because I believe we need green energy but the size and distance of them is quite frightening.

A spokesperson for Ecotricity told the Adver on Wednesday: “Throughout the development, Ecotricity and Honda have been available to answer any questions and all queries received to date have been answered personally.”