Back to website

Round-up Feb 21 2005


14:00 - 21 February 2005
Andrew Davies, parroting Friends of the Earth's glib sophistry, has yet again dismissed the feelings of those who find wind farms a desecration as "a subjective opinion with others finding wind farms elegant". Of course it's subjective, and, yes, one cannot deny the elegance of design.

To presume that this justifies disregarding such objections is not merely fatuous. As someone who voted for Davies I feel betrayed to see him now dismissing our legitimate concerns.

Mr Davies is equally dismissive of all the objective arguments of the impartial energy scientists, which clearly show wind power is inherently unsatisfactory. Of all the options it is the least efficient and inordinately expensive. So Davies's position is equally subjective and logically and morally indefensible.

He also asserts that "Surveys repeatedly show the majority ... find wind farms acceptable". Maybe, but so what! For one thing, "acceptable" is a very non-committal term. For another, nodding to a question which will not affect your life or the value of your house, especially when you've swallowed misleading propaganda, is easy and means nothing.

More importantly, however many people tick the "acceptable" box in a poll, that does not give Davies the mandate, however indifferent to the beauties of nature and our national heritage he might personally be, to disregard such sensibilities in others. It is not a basic democratic principle that individual interest can only justifiably be overridden when they jeopardise greater interests of the majority. This is not the case here.

Mr Davies clearly has no right to override the objections of those, however many or few, who find wind farms a desecration and align himself with the wind power industry against all the advice of energy experts. To do so is to treat us, and our country, with contempt.

G Benson

Brooklands Terrace

Mount Pleasant, Swansea

Wind Power Plan Dropped Amid Defence Concerns

By Dave Higgens, PA

A power company today withdrew a plan to build two giant wind turbines after the Ministry of Defence said they could interfere with Britain‘s air defences.

Villagers living close to the proposed wind farm on the Escrick Park Estate, near Selby, have mounted a vigorous campaign against the twin towers but were celebrating today.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We objected because of the interference they could cause to defence radar systems.

“The MoD fully supports the Government‘s renewable energy policies but we‘ve got a duty to ensure the country‘s defence capability is not jeopardised in any way.”

The energy firm E.ON UK confirmed its subsidiary Powergen had withdrawn the planning application for the 111 metre high turbines it had lodged with Selby District Council.

Chantal Thomas, community power manager with E.ON UK Renewables, said: “This was a mutual decision taken between ourselves and the landowner.

“We have reviewed our position after the Ministry of Defence’s continued objection to the project on technical grounds.

“We’ll continue our work on a number of community power projects, which are in various stages of development across the country. These are small-scale projects and are a positive contribution towards the real need for renewable energy production in the UK.”

Charles Forbes Adam, who owns the Escrick Park Estate and supported the project, said: “Everyone who works on the estate cares deeply for its natural environment. If we believed that two wind turbines could put it at risk in any way we would not have considered supporting the project.

“We are saddened that these proposed turbines have caused so much debate.

“I want to make it clear that I only gave my support to the scheme because it meant that local communities might benefit from it.

“I never stood to gain financially in any way.

He said the proposed project as it would have brought around £5,000 per year, for the life of the turbines, to be spent on community needs.


14:00 - 21 February 2005
I Hesitate to enter the debate on wind turbines, given the expertise of many of your contributors, but no-one seems to have referred to the findings on the German Government's inquiry into the future of energy production. The publication of the 490-page report has been delayed to be "re-edited".

Jurgen Trittin, Germany's green party environment minister said, "We do not want the findings of this report to be misinterpreted".

Fortunately, a copy of the original report has been leaked to the press and it concludes that further expansion of wind generation will lead to much higher costs to the consumer and also casts doubt on one of the main arguments for wind power: that it cuts the amount of greenhouse gases polluting the atmosphere. The report says that almost the same effect can be achieved - at substantially reduced costs - by installing modern filters at existing fossil-fuel power plants.

A report by the National Audit Office, advised by economic consultancy Oxera, found that wind farms could operate profitably if they received only half the level of subsidy they enjoy at present, and predicts that the cost of generating power from renewable sources is likely to increase electricity costs by £1 billion a year by 2010.

So why is the Government wasting our money by pushing wind farms? Isn't it about time someone from the Assembly or their masters at Westminster gave us an explanation?

Geoff Davies

Highfield Road, Twyn, Ammanford

Wind farm power may not be cheap

CATRIONA Campbell says that she wants small, local schemes for wind farms, instead of the Lewis Wind power scheme which is for 234 wind turbines on Barvas Moor (Gaelic column, February 13). She hopes that these schemes will bring plentiful cheap electricity to the island.

According to the evidence, it is more likely that we will generate cheaper electricity from a large scheme than from a small scheme. For example, the story was reported in the Sunday Telegraph (January 9), of how a man in Kent spent £25,000 on a small wind turbine and he only got two or three kilowatts from it. By contrast, it is more likely that we will obtain cheap electricity from large wind turbines which are capable of delivering around 1.5MW.

But even with large windmills it is not certain that it will bring cheap electricity to the islands. It is likely that the electricity will go the National Grid and that the price of electricity in the islands will be the same as in other places. The hydro schemes which were built in the 1950s did not bring cheaper electricity to the Highlands.

The most likely benefit to the neighbourhood is the royalty which the companies ought to pay.

Ms Campbell says that some tourists dislike the wind turbines, but what do they want? Brigadoon?

Perhaps a lot of people have a romantic image of the islands, but I do not believe that a wind farm in the distance will destroy the pleasure of the visitors to the Standing Stones of Callanish, to Garenin village or of the landscape in general. In addition, there should not be too much damage to the landscape, because the market will prevent it.

According to the Scottish Executive, the total demand for renewable power before the year 2010 is about 100MW. Even if this power comes entirely from wind turbines, it is equivalent to 500-600 turbines throughout the country. This should not be enough to spoil the beauty of the land.

Richard Devéria, Trochry

Wind plan 'is still on the cards'

Plans to place wind turbines in and around Chedburgh could still go ahead, according to developers.
Renewable energy companies Enertrag UK and Your Energy have confirmed they still hope to have around six of the 400ft power producing giants in the area by 2006.
However, the companies must carry out a range of environmental surveys before planning permission is granted by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
It is thought that the six turbines, which will be visible for up to 10 miles, would be placed in an arc starting at Chedburgh Airfield and ending near Hawkedon.
Some villagers in Chedburgh, Rede, Hawkedon and Depden have raised concerns regarding the proposals, which would see the gigantic turbines overshadow 12 parishes.
Depden parish councillor Graham Marler said he believed people should keep an open mind before objecting to the plans.
"We have taken the view not to make a decision whether we are for or against it until we know all the facts," said Mr Marler.
"We have an obligation under the code of conduct not to pre-judge anything. There are a lot of people in favour of renewable energy and a lot against it, regarding the noise and visual impact.
"Even though it will be the district council which will be asked for planning permission, the more we know about it, the better position we will be in to make the right decision, rather than having a knee-jerk reaction.
"It's silly, I believe, as do Depden Parish Council, to make a decision before we know everything. But it still may never happen."
Chedburgh Parish Council clerk Nelson Swinney said: "I currently have no view one way or the other." "We don't know enough about it to make a decision. We need to find out a lot more, such as what the environmental effects would be. I'm not really sure what the residents think, I assume they know about the proposal, but there has been no formal correspondence."
Terry Chapelhow, project engineer for Enertrag UK, said there was a good chance the proposal would go ahead.
"Before we put in for planning permission, we have to carry out a range of surveys and prepare an environmental statement," he said.
"This will include surveying the land, wildlife, a report into the migration of the birds and the landscape. We also have to do wind resource measurements to determine whether it is a viable site.
"We will also talk to parish councils and try to gauge local opinion to try to mitigate any issues people have. But we do intend to move forward on that site, we wouldn't be looking at it if we didn't think it was a good idea. There is no definite, but it is likely."
21 February 2005