Nissan Motor's Sunderland plant in north-east England will increase the size of its wind farm later in the year with the addition of two more turbines.

Installation will begin in December, bringing the total number of turbines on the site to eight. The new turbines will be located to the south of the site alongside the existing farm.

Expected to be fully operational in January 2008, the expanded farm will generate around 6% of the plant's annual energy requirement, up from 5% today.

This will deliver a cost saving of nearly GBP1m a year (depending on weather conditions) which will offset rising energy costs.

In addition, carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by up to 4,000 tonnes per year at power plants supplying the factory with electricity.

Nissan engineer Mike Parkin said: "Our current turbines are performing well in terms of energy cost reduction, so it makes sense to increase the size of the farm."

Planning permission for the additional turbines was granted by Sunderland City Council following a highly detailed feasibility study which took into consideration the views and opinions of local residents, as well as ensuring that the farm fully complies with strict noise level guidelines.

Unlike most wind farms, Nissan's is enclosed entirely within an industrial area on low-lying ground, minimising any impact to the local environment.

The site is also home to a protected species of great crested newts. Before installation can begin, Nissan will relocate the newts to a temporary home on the site, under the guidance of the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Once installation is completed the newts will be able to return to their habitat around the turbines.

Sunderland Plant's wind farm is the first of its kind within Nissan globally and its expansion supports the Nissan Green Programme 2010.

Unveiled in December 2006, the programme is focused on three core areas related to the environment: reducing CO2 emissions from Nissan's products and activities around the world, reducing other exhaust emissions and accelerating recycling efforts.

Nissan Sunderland employs 4,300 building Qashqai compact crossover, Note, Micra and Micra C+C models.

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