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MoD concerns stall Honda wind turbines plan  

Credit:  By Scott D'Arcy, Swindon Advertiser, www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk 18 October 2010 ~~

An objection from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has led to the decision over the proposal to build three wind turbines at the Honda plant being delayed.

The MoD has written to Swindon Council to stall the progress of the application, submitted by Honda and sustainable energy firm Ecotricity, so it can be determined whether the turbines will interfere with its radar devices.

The controversial plan to erect three turbines, 120m high at their peak, is now not set to be heard by the council’s planning committee before December at the earliest.

It was originally scheduled to be discussed this month.

A MoD spokesman said: “Wind turbines can affect a number of MoD activities and operations, including air traffic control and threat radars.

“The MoD must do what is necessary to ensure that national security, the safety of aircraft, and, indeed, the safety of aircrew and of people on the ground, are protected through proper safeguarding of those radars.

“All wind farm applications are assessed on a site by site basis.

“The MoD is committed to Government targets for renewable energy and whenever possible we seek to work with wind farm developers to find a mutually acceptable solution.

“The effects of wind turbines on radar are complex and the MoD is working in a number of areas to address the effects of turbines on radar.”

Mike Cheshire, public relations manager for Ecotricity, said the company was aware of the issue and it was not uncommon.

“The latest we know is that the MoD is working with BAE systems to look into the issue,” he said.

“When they put in an objection it’s often a holding objection rather than them objecting in principle. They are waiting for a technical document to see what is possible. It’s not uncommon for things like this.

“The planning process moves quite slowly and deliberately but that’s so that they can make sure they have got all the evidence in front of them before making a decision.”

On Saturday the Adver reported how campaign group Ill Wind held a demonstration to show to local residents in both Stratton and South Marston how high and close in proximity to housing the turbines will be.

Neil Burchell, group chairman, said: “We’ve had a steady stream of people from around the village and many are still so shocked at how high it will be.”

In August, Stratton St Margaret Parish Council’s planning committee decided to support the plan.

It said: “There will be a small visual impact on parts of the parish.

“However, the council feels due consideration has been given to this issue and adequate steps to mitigate the visual impact have been taken.

“It is the view of the council that it is unlikely that the turbines will create more noise pollution than the A419, which acts as a barrier between the development site and the majority of residential dwellings within the parish that are directly affected.”

Source:  By Scott D'Arcy, Swindon Advertiser, www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk 18 October 2010

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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