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Town to set green vision
AN AMBITION to transform Swindon into a centre of excellence for renewable energies, creating jobs and reducing the town’s carbon footprint, is to be debated by council bosses next week.
The authority hopes to increase its renewable energy by using council-owned assets, including schools, farms, car parks and homes, for energy production and in particular focusing on large scale solar PV farms.
A report, going before Swindon Council’s cabinet meeting, states that by 2020, a key date for UK energy targets, the authority hopes the town will be recognised as a UK centre of excellence for hydrogen energy technologies, creating jobs by building on the town’s emerging strength in hydrogen energy storage.
The plan is for Swindon to produce enough low carbon energy to power all of the 90,600 residential properties in the borough which means producing around 200MW of installed capacity.
Councillor Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said he is confident the authority will be able to reach that target.
“My ambition for Swindon is to have enough low carbon renewable energy being generated locally by 2020 to power every home. This will create local jobs, tackle energy prices and because it’s the right green thing to do when compared to gas, coal and nuclear.
“We must create an environment that incentivises business to invest and make this happen.
“Over the last 18 months, we have worked with major local businesses and business parks to cut the red tape and bureaucracy of planning to help them grow and expand, and to encourage relocation to the town.
“For example, if a solar farm is located in an appropriate area and is not controversial then it should go ahead with the minimum of fuss and delay.”
Last month the council’s planning team gave the green light for Local Development Orders to be brought in. This scheme allows for non-controversial changes of use to go ahead without planning permission.
The cabinet will be debating the topic on Wednesday at 6pm at the Civic Offices. For more information visit ww5.swindon.gov.uk /moderngov and clikc on the cabinet agenda.
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