Managers at Oxford’s Co-op have pledged to continue with their scheme to build a wind turbine in the city’s flood plain.
In May, Midcounties Co-operative announced the plan to build a wind turbine to supply power for its headquarters in Botley Road and its store in the West Way shopping centre.
The Co-op submitted a planning application for a 60m pole to test wind speeds over 12 months, at the same site.
The proposal is due to be discussed by the central, south and west committee in September.
John Mathias, energy and environment manager for Midcounties Co-operative, said the extensive flooding in the Botley Road area at the end of last month would not deter the Co-op from pursuing its plans.
He said: “The test mast is in the flood plain and the ground there is quite boggy after the recent flooding, but we don’t feel flooding is a reason not to go ahead with the turbine.
“The test mast will be anchored properly into the ground and there will be no problem in terms of its resistance to water.
“The mast will not affect the capacity of the ground to absorb flood water and in terms of emergency planning and pumping out flood water, power from wind turbines could be used to power the pumps.
“There has been an objection on the grounds that the land is in the flood plain, but we don’t feel the flooding is a reason to ditch this plan.”
The proposed site is inside the city boundary, between Seacourt park-and-ride, and the A34 and some residents have objected to the proposal because they think it will create noise.
If wind speeds are strong enough, they could provide about 75 per cent of the power for the Co-op’s offices and the Motorworld garage in Botley Road and the Co-op store at West Way.
The 60m high wind turbine with 25m long blades would be taller than the 52m Seacourt Tower.
The city council is also searching for a site to place a wind turbine which would feed power into the local grid – Headington, Horspath and Wolvercote are possible locations.
Susanna Pressel, Labour city councillor for Jericho and Osney, said: “When councillors consider the application for the test mast, we will be guided by the Environment Agency on the flooding situation.”
Claudia Thomas, of Osney Island, was affected by the recent flooding. She said: “I think a wind turbine is exactly what we need, because the flooding is probably partly due to more extreme weather conditions due to global warming.”
But Nick Gladwin, of Earl Street, off Botley Road, said: “If they are building on the flood plain, it obviously cannot be good when it floods.”
By Andrew Ffrench
5 August 2007
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