Honda makes a full U-turn on turbines
11:30pm Thursday 2nd February 2012 in By Matthew Edwards, Sports reporter
CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed news car giant Honda will not appeal the council’s decision to reject its wind turbine plan.
Honda and green energy firm Ecotricity applied to build three 120-metre turbines at the car plant in South Marston as a bid to cut its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2020.
The company yesterday announced they were not going to appeal the decision of the planning committee, which was made last October, and were instead going to look at alternative energy sources including biofuel.
Residents opposing the scheme had claimed the turbines would be too large and noisy and they have welcomed Honda’s decision to engage more with the community.
Des Fitzpatrick, the chairman of pressure group Ill Wind, said: “We are delighted the threat of the turbines overshadowing Stratton and South Marston has been withdrawn.
“It is good day for the residents and their representatives who supported them in their campaign.
“It looks like Honda now plan to work with their neighbours going forward and that can only be good for Honda, their neighbours and the people of Swindon.
“I can assure Honda that Ill Wind will be happy to work with them on that basis and will support their efforts to be environmentally friendly with technologies appropriate to the location.”
There were concerns following the refusal of planning permission that Honda could pull out of Swindon but since then 500 new jobs have been created at the site following the launch of the new Honda Civic.
Honda have said it remains committed to Swindon and to meeting its challenging CO2 reduction targets by further developing a mix of renewable energy technologies at its Swindon site.
Mike Godfrey, the chief engineer at Honda Uk Manufacturing, said: “We are here to stay.
“We were completely confident with our proposal, we wouldn’t have progressed with the application if we weren’t.
“That decision was made by Swindon, that is the key point.
“The decision not to appeal came after consideration of the views of residents, businesses, councillors and wider organisations.
“However, we still have very challenging targets we need to meet.
“We are now focused on plan B and doing what we can to achieve our carbon targets by 2020.
“Honda remains committed to meeting their CO2 reduction targets by further developing a mix of renewable energy technologies.
“We are in the feasibility stages of developing biofuel which will compliment an existing five megawatt solar array connected to the manufacturing facility.
“We have always stated that we are committed to Swindon, we have invested £1.56billion in the site.
“However, we have to be competitive, not only with other companies but also with Honda’s manufacturing sites around the world.
“We feel that investing in renewable energy will provide us with that competitive edge.”