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Two new sites for wind turbines  

Two more sites have emerged as possible locations for Oxford’s first giant wind turbines.

Land close to Hinksey Heights Golf Club, near South Hinksey, and Cutteslowe Park have been revealed as places where 125m (410ft) tall energy generators could be built.

The news comes after the Oxford Mail exclusively revealed last month that land near the BMW car factory in Cowley and at Sandford Brake, south of Greater Leys, had been identified as prime locations for turbines.

The emergence of these new sites now means six turbines could be built at four sites, generating enough power for almost 7,000 homes.

The first could be in place in two years’ time, if planning permission is granted.

Dean Davis, 32, the professional at Hinksey Heights Golf Club, said: “It would not look good and would be a bit of an eyesore out on the course.

“It’s very pleasant up here and I’m sure a lot of people would be put off playing in the shadow of a wind turbine.

“We would resist these plans if they came forward.”

Plans to build wind turbines have the backing of all political groups at the council, which has set itself a target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by two per cent by 2010, because they would require no financial outlay.

The project would cost more than £10m but would be paid for by Partnerships for Renewables, part of the Carbon Trust, a Government-backed body promoting renewable energy.

The organisation would build the turbines, rent the land from the council and sell it electricity at a reduced rate – with the surplus fed into the National Grid.

Experts said the Horspath and Sandford Brake sites could accommodate at least two turbines each, while the Chilswell Valley site near South Hinksey and Cutteslowe Park could take one each.

Each mast would be 80m-high, with the rotor blades measuring 90m in diameter. Each turbine would generate three megawatts of power.

Graham Jones, the chairman of the Friends of Cutteslowe Park, said: “While being enthusiastic about sustainable energy, we have to look after the environment.

“People come to Cutteslowe Park to enjoy the greenery, so I don’t know whether a turbine would help with that, but we would certainly look at the situation carefully. It’s about striking a balance.”

Experts will now conduct detailed tests to assess each site’s suitability. The city council owns the land at each site, but only the park is within Oxford’s administrative boundary.

Green group leader Craig Simmons said: “If we could get 10 per cent of the city’s energy from wind turbines it would be a huge step forward.”

City council climate change expert Paul Spencer said: “This doubles the city’s chances of getting something up and running.

“Overall, this is very good news and we’re looking to move ahead on this as soon as possible.”

Maggie Rawcliffe, the vice chairman of South Hinksey Parish Council, added: “This is the first I have heard about it.”

By Giles Sheldrick

Oxford Mail

22 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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