PLANS to build a massive wind turbine between the Cowley works and Horspath are being unveiled today by Oxford City Council

The single commercial-scale turbine is set to be built on council-

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owned land across the road from the Horspath Road Athletics Track. And

it is being viewed as a first step towards making Oxford a national

leader in developing major wind energy schemes.

The £3m turbine will have a combined blade and tower height of

130m, making it taller than the 122m turbine beside the M4, outside

Reading. And the proposed 2.5 MW turbine will produce quantities of

green energy equivalent to that used by 1,200 households a year. It

promises to be one of the first wind energy developments to be built on

council land in the UK. Detailed technical and environmental work will

shortly begin with a view to submitting a planning application in 2011.

Partnerships for Renewables, set up by the Carbon Trust to work

with the public sector, will pay for the development costs, with an

annual payment made to Oxford City Council.

Last year, the Town Hall asked experts to look at four possible sites

for a wind turbine, all on the edge of the city. The other sites were

at Cutteslowe Park; close to the Hinksey Heights Golf Club; and south

of Greater Leys.

Tom Brinicombe, of Partner-ships for Renewables, said the Horspath

site had been selected because it was a suitable distance from housing,

with no environmentally designated land nearby.

He said: “There are also a number of businesses and organisations

in the vicinity of the site. There is potential for the turbines to

supply green electricity directly to them. We would be happy to discuss

this opportunity with local electricity users as part of our

development.

“The current plans are to have just one turbine. But there is the

potential to have more. If we do that we will make sure the local

community knows exactly what is going on.”

The company hailed the announcement as “a major breakthrough in the

pursuit of renewable energy generation on council land.” Mr Brinicombe

said: “We have spoken to the vast majority of local authorities in

England and Wales. Oxford is the first one to show the leadership to

come into this.”

A test mast will shortly go up to see if the wind power is sufficient.

John Tanner, the city council board member for a Cleaner, Greener

Oxford, said: “The site is a first for Oxford and a practical

contribution to creating a Low Carbon city. Wind turbines are quiet,

graceful and not a threat to wildlife. Compared to ugly electricity

pylons, wind turbines are a huge improvement for Oxford’s environment.

“The real threat to our countryside locally is not wind turbines

but climate change. I hope everyone will support this wind turbine

plan. Both the city council and Partnerships for Renewables are

committed to ensuring that the local community is central to the

development process.”

The idea of building a wind turbine near Hinksey Heights has been

dropped after early protests. But if the Horspath scheme proved

successful, Partnerships for Renewables hinted that Cutteslowe Park and

Greater Leys could later see turbines.

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