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Blowing in the wind

WIND power could soon play a major part in the future of Honda in Swindon which could mean 70-metre windmills at the South Marston site.

Planning permission will be sought in the next couple of weeks from Swindon Council for a test mast on eastern side of their site.

The test mast, which will be up to 230ft high and 8ins wide, will study the wind for the next 12 months.

The scheme is to investigate the possibility of generating up to 10 per cent of the power which runs the Honda factory.

If it's successful then up to three three-bladed windmills will be erected and they will be between 40 and 70 metres tall.

And that could mean blades some 20 metres long.

"If we get planning permission for the test mast we will be on the way to generating some of our own power," said Julie Cameron of Honda.

"The mast will have a number of sensors on it which will, over the period of a year, test just how good the wind is and at what height.

"When we have that information we will know just what we can build in the future.

"Just what height, size and number we will not know until the test has been completed."

After the 12-month period Honda will enter a detailed consultation period and the whole project will take around three years to reach fruition.

Honda says it is sensitive to the environment and the Swindon proposal... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Planning permission will be sought in the next couple of weeks from Swindon Council for a test mast on eastern side of their site.

The test mast, which will be up to 230ft high and 8ins wide, will study the wind for the next 12 months.

The scheme is to investigate the possibility of generating up to 10 per cent of the power which runs the Honda factory.

If it's successful then up to three three-bladed windmills will be erected and they will be between 40 and 70 metres tall.

And that could mean blades some 20 metres long.

"If we get planning permission for the test mast we will be on the way to generating some of our own power," said Julie Cameron of Honda.

"The mast will have a number of sensors on it which will, over the period of a year, test just how good the wind is and at what height.

"When we have that information we will know just what we can build in the future.

"Just what height, size and number we will not know until the test has been completed."

After the 12-month period Honda will enter a detailed consultation period and the whole project will take around three years to reach fruition.

Honda says it is sensitive to the environment and the Swindon proposal supports the company's global policy of meeting 10 per cent of energy usage through sustainable sources.

But there could well be objections to the proposals, even though the test site is a long way from homes.

Globally the company has set a target of 20 per cent energy efficiency improvement across all operations by 2010.

Honda in Europe are way ahead of that target and are currently on 35 per cent.

One example of their environment sensitivity is the end of life arrangements for their cars.

Manufacturers are now responsible for the way cars are disposed of when they are scrapped. Now it is only seven kilos. Ten years ago the figure was 60 kilos of waste per car which went to a landfill site.

On the rules and regulations of eliminating heavy metals the company is well ahead of the Government's stipulations.

Site earmarked before

IT IS not the first time the Honda site has been earmarked for a wind turbine.

Last August, the company Green Amps told the Adver it was interested in erecting five turbines on farmland along the A419 and on the Honda site, Windmill Hill and South Marston industrial park.

Chief executive Nick Brown said: "We had approached Honda some time ago about having turbines on their land.

"They have obviously crystallised this idea. It is an excellent idea and I wish them all the best with it."

However, it could affect some of the plans Green Amps had for other turbine sites in the area.

"We had been looking at putting turbines on South Marston industrial park, almost opposite the Honda site," he said.

"It does mean we probably won't be able to do this now, but it should not affect our plans for the site near the Blunsdon bypass."

Hoping the noise won't annoy

THOSE living near the Honda site are divided on whether the wind turbines will be a welcome addition to the area.

Joanne Harris, of Stratton, said the turbines would help to conserve energy.

"I think it's great Honda is looking at ways to reduce its energy consumption and it is something we should all be doing," said the 43-year-old.

"I don't think it will affect people in the area as it will just be there. I'm quite excited and hope it works."

But others were not so keen to congratulate the car manufacturers.
Chris Hamilton, of Ermin Street, said: "These wind turbines sound like they are going to tower over Stratton and South Marston.

"Seventy metres is very high and I think it is probably going to have a significant effect on the people around here."

And Gary Richards agreed.

"I know it's only wind, but how loud would these turbines be?" he said.
"There are a lot of young families that live in that area and it could really cause them problems if the turbines start early in the morning or go on late."

A sentinel by the M4

THE Honda wind turbines could be almost the same size as the Ecotricity turbine on the outskirts of Reading that was put up at the end of last year.

At 85 metres' tall it towers over the M4 and is the UK's most visible turbine it is thought that it will be seen by as many as 60 million people every year.

The turbine generates around 4.5 million units of electricity every year, enough to power almost 1,500 local homes and businesses.

It is pictured above during its installation last year

Go-ahead is given to turbines on farmland

PEOPLE across Swindon have already been blown away by the idea of wind farms.

Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative aims to build an energy plant in Watchfield after getting the go-ahead from the Vale of the White Horse District Council last year.

The five-turbine farm, which will be sited on land owned by organic farmer Adam Twine, will provide enough electricity for 2,500 homes.
It is expected to be up and running by the end of this year.

The co-operative, which is selling shares in the farm, is looking to raise a total of £3.75m to fund the build, with the rest being supplemented by a bank loan.

Within seven weeks the shares had raised £1m toward the project.
Mr Twine, said: "The co-operative gives people a chance to do something positive for the environment and the projected long-term returns are very attractive."

The Westmill share offer is expected to remain open until the end of this month.

Source: http://www.thisiswiltshire....

FEB 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1236-blowing-in-the-wind
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