Plans are being drawn up for four giant wind turbines in Oxford.
Council leaders are in advanced talks about putting 125m-tall generators on land near the BMW plant in Cowley and at Sandford Brake, close to Grenoble Road in Blackbird Leys.
Experts said there was enough room on each site to accommodate two turbines.
The scheme – which would cost more than £8m and generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes a year – would be entirely funded by Partnerships for Renewals (PfR), which is part of the Carbon Trust.
The organisation would build the turbines, rent the land off the council and sell back power at a reduced rate – with the rest put on the national grid.
Each mast would be 80m high, with the rotors measuring 90m in diameter. Each would generate as much as three megawatts of power a year.
Last night, the scheme was broadly welcomed by people who could be living in the shadow of a giant turbine.
Colin Whittaker, 65, of Sparrow Way, Greater Leys, said: “I’m quite happy for them to give it a go here. I have got no concerns at all.”
Angela Simms, also of Sparrow Way, added: “Turbines have got to be better than all the pylons out there at the moment.
“It’s going to be generating sustainable energy which is good too.”
But Carol Shearman, 49, of Hobby Court, Greater Leys, said: “My concern is there could be noise issues.”
The city council was involved in secret talks last year and since then, every piece of land the authority owns has been examined to find the most suitable sites. More detailed tests will now be carried out.
City council leader John Goddard said: “We are in the early stages of investigating suitable sites for community-scale wind turbines and the potential benefits available.
“This is a great opportunity, which we must explore.”
The Brasenose site would be visible from Brasenose Wood and Shotover Country Park, parts of which were gifted to the city council by Oxford Preservation Trust.
Trust chairman Debbie Dance said: “We would look at each one according to its merits and the impact on the landscape.”
A turbine could be erected as early as 2010, or within a year of receiving the go-ahead from planners.
Stephen Ainger, chief executive of PfR, said: “The public sector owns enough land in the UK to make a significant contribution towards the fight against climate change.
“We hope other public sector bodies will follow the pro-active example being set by Oxford City Council.”
City climate change officer Paul Spencer added: “This presents us with a unique opportunity that would not be possible under our own resources.”
By Giles Sheldrick
30 January 2008
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