Campaigners against the plan for three turbines at the Honda plant managed to beat the wind in their second attempt to demonstrate the potential visual impact on residents.
The demonstration came as new research suggested purple-coloured turbines are less attractive to insects and thus less likely to harm other local wildlife, including birds.
Protest group Ill Wind suffered a blow last month when strong gales saw their balloon crash to the ground after just a few hours. They had planned for it to fly at 120m to represent the highest height of the proposed wind turbines at the South Marston site.
But yesterday a balloon, which costs £750-a-time to hire, was flying all day, after being given the green light by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and caught the eye of residents even as far afield as Greenbridge.
Neil Burchell, group chairman, said: “There was very little wind so it was up there all day. We’ve had a lot more time to make an impression this time.
“We’ve had a steady stream of people from around the village and many are still so shocked at how high it will be.
“This time we’ve put a marker on the rope to show where the hub will be and that’s been helpful. There seem to be a lot more residents from Stratton as well.”
Mr Burchell said the group had sent out around 5,000 leaflets to houses in the two areas since the application came in.
A spokesman for Honda said: “Honda and Ecotricity have already submitted photographs, as stipulated by Swindon Borough Council, to support the planning application which are a true representation of visual impact of the wind turbines.
“However, we do appreciate that it may be difficult to visualise the impact of a turbine from the perspective of each individual resident’s house from the photographs. Honda and Ecotricity also maintain an open communication approach with the community in regards to this proposed wind turbine application.”
Research by a PhD student at Loughborough University suggests the typical grey or white turbines attract more insects, and hence birds, than certain other colours.
The least attractive colour for insects is purple.
Mike Cheshire, PR manager at Ecotricity, said there were no plans to make the proposed turbines purple and turbines did not pose any great threat to birds as they are.
“The reason they are matt grey is precisely so they are unobtrusive and blend in with the colour of the sky and that is not just in the UK but all over the world.
“The general figures for turbines are that they kill one bird every year each. To put that into context RSPB figures show cats kill 55m birds each year.”
For anyone who would like to know more about the Honda proposal visit www.ecotricity.co.uk/ honda-swindon or email honda @ecotricity.co.uk.
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