Cllr Dale Heenan, “Our campaign to extend and improve the a419 sound barrier seems to have caught peoples imagination. The idea of a solar panel based sound barrier is deceptively simple, with the electricity produced covering the costs of the barrier.
Over 100 people has signed up to our campaign, and this has only been through word of mouth. We haven’t delivered a single leaflet to promote it yet! Just our eastswindon.com website, Facebook group and our launch.
There is a council meeting happening in 3 weeks time, so Richard and I have decided to take our efforts to the next level.
There will be a debate of Councillors working with business and the Highways Agency to draft a business case for a solar sound barrier. Lets flesh out the detail and figure out a way to make it happen, and built, in the next two years.
We would explore everything from commercial loans to a setting up a co-operative, the same approach which paid for the Watchfield windturbines. Lets also see if a business will buy the electricity rather than rely on the national grid.
Our six months laying the campaign foundations is paying off. In another six months I’d like to us have a fully costed scheme that can be built”
The motion written and proposed by Cllr Dale Heenan, and seconded by Richard Hurley is:
This Council supports the idea of a “Solar Sound Barrier” along the A419 to improve and extend the existing barrier, and believes that the Council should investigate a pilot scheme so that it can implement a barrier within two years, if practicable.
This Council requests that:
· The Cabinet Member for Highways, Strategic Transport and Leisure establishes a working group of Councillors, supported by officers, to develop an outline business case, and
· The Leader of the Council and Chief Executive invite key stakeholders to become partners, for example Swindon Commercial Services, the Highways Agency.
The working group should:
· Approach local businesses to be involved in the working group to provide expertise and knowledge, and include any companies interested in purchasing the electricity,
· Consider how the scheme can be self-funded, or financed through a cooperative, loans or a mixture of approaches,
· Expect no grant from the Highways Authority and Swindon Borough Council to implement a scheme,
· Provide a progress update to the September Cabinet, and
· Recommend a proposal to Cabinet if it identifies a viable business case.