PLANS to build a wind turbine between the Cowley car works and Horspath were today set to be unveiled by Oxford City Council.

A £3m turbine could be built on council-owned land across the road from the Horspath Road athletics track to generate enough electricity to power 1,200 homes a year.

It will have a combined blade and tower height of 130m (426ft), which means it would be taller than the 122m (400ft) turbine next to the M4 motorway in Reading.

John Tanner, the council’s executive member for a cleaner, greener city, said: “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 is not wind turbines but climate change. I hope everyone will support this plan.”

Detailed technical and environmental work is expected to begin shortly and a planning application could be submitted in 2011.

A test mast will also be put up soon to see if the wind at the site is strong enough to drive a turbine.

Last year, the council asked experts to look at four possible sites for a wind turbine, all on the edge of the city.

The others were at Cutteslowe Park, near Hinksey Heights Golf Club and south of Greater Leys.

Tom Brinicombe, of Partnerships for Renewables, which is working with the council on the scheme, said Horspath was selected because it was well away from housing.

He said: “There are also a number of businesses and organisations in the vicinity. There’s potential for the turbines to supply green electricity directly to them.

“The current plans are to have just one turbine. But there’s the potential to have more. If we do that, we will make sure the local community knows exactly what’s 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.”

Nick Rau, of Friends of the Earth, said: “More local renewable energy sites like this will help avert runaway climate change and bring financial benefits to the community.”

The first wind farm in the South East opened last year near Watchfield, in the Vale of White Horse.