Honda’s plans to build three wind turbines at its Swindon car plant have been put back for a second time after more than 300 opponents turned up at a council meeting due to decide whether to give them the green light.
Swindon Council planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval. But when the local campaigners crowded into the council offices to protest against it, members of the planning committee decided to defer their decision again.
The application will now be heard at a reconvened meeting staged in a larger venue, possibly within the next four weeks.
Honda, which has teamed up with wind energy pioneers Ecotricity, claims the 120m turbines are essential to keep its Swindon car and engine manufacturing site as one of the world’s most efficient while also meeting tough internal targets to reduce its carbon footprint.
A report to the committee by the Japanese firm said the plant is aiming to slash its carbon emissions by 24% within nine years. Honda is determined to lower its £8.5m annual energy bill and sees using alternative energy supplies as key to this. It says it has already reduced the amount of energy needed to produce a car by 37 per cent since 2000 by designing-in energy-efficient processes at its plant – but further savings will be harder to achieve.
The turbines would have a capacity to produce a total of 6.9 MW, Ecotricity says – sufficient to meet the annual needs of 5,400 houses and saving 7,200 tonnes of CO2 a year.
But opponents of the turbines argue they will be an eyesore, generate noise, reduce property prices and could affect nearby residents’ health.
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