As an ex-press secretary I
am used to conspiracy theories and false allegations made without any supporting
evidence. But Gill Westcott's claim that 'there is documentary evidence of funds
from the nuclear power lobby finding their way through Country Guardian to
anti-wind farm groups' is a rather serious one. It is intended to suggest that
those opposed to wind farms are a mere front for the nuclear power
The facts are somewhat different. I became vice-president of
Country Guardian some 14 years ago. I object to the industrialisation of our
countryside with wind turbines and consider it unacceptable that our wild places
should be wrecked by a renewable source of energy that is no answer to global
Later I became a consultant to British Nuclear Fuels and now I
am secretary of Supporters of Nuclear Energy, SONE. I saw, and see, no
incompatibility in opposing wind farms and promoting nuclear power.
two are not competitors.
For this reason some of my colleagues in SONE
think I should soft-pedal my opposition to wind power. Indeed, the often heard
criticism of my position is that 'we (the nuclear industry) should not appear to
be opposed to renewables'.
I am not opposed to renewables as such, only
to those like wind that are blots on the landscape, grossly expensive and
virtually useless for powering Britain or in combating global warming.
far as I know not a single penny of nuclear money has passed through the hands
of Country Guardian for any purpose. Indeed, nuclear companies have, over the
years, thought of going into wind power, no doubt because of the subsidies they
would be able to farm.
Mrs Westcott should gracefully withdraw her
The above letter from Sir Bernard
Ingham (actually sent and intended for publication on the 19th but for some
reason not published till 26th) was in reply to:
Gill Westcott’s letter
of 12th January 2006
need to consider all the alernatives
Michael Addison claims that 89%
of North Devon is against wind turbines, (Journal December 15). As a member of
Trans-Send, Ilfracombe's Renewable Energy advice organisation, I helped with a
door-to-door survey in Braunton, Newport and West Down last year, which showed
over 70% of those interviewed were in favour of Fullabrook. This despite the
fact that the vast majority in West Down were against. The survey was organised
by the Green party, whom Neil Harvey insinuates must be paid by wind developers.
This unsupported allegation is wide of the mark. I am not a member of the Green
Party but it is obvious to me that
a) it has practically no money
b) it is not for money that people traipse round knocking on
doors on weekend afternoons, but a concern to avoid the harm that could befall
us all if current power generation systems continue.
Were the development of wind resources to be
undertaken by communities for their own benefit and under their control, as in
Denmark, I am sure there would be at least as much support from the Green Party.
I would also expect smaller turbines.
While on the subject, Polly Toynbee
has documented funds from the nuclear power lobby finding their way through
Country Guardians to anti-wind farm groups.
This does not in itself invalidate the arguments of
those who oppose wind farms, which have to be evaluated on their
False claims have been made and widely believed by these
campaigns, eg that wind farms do not allow significant retiring of conventional
power stations, and turbines operating at 30% are inefficient
In fact, I
understand, conventional power stations operate at about this level of
efficiency. Indeed, 75% or more of the energy generated is typically lost at the
plant or in transmission.
Local generation is therefore more efficient. The
sincerity of those who oppose windfarms is not in doubt, but the information
circulated often is.
I would like to know what the alternative
possibilities are for sustainable electricity generation in North
Marine turbines seem an excellent idea but accounts differ about
whether they will soon be ready for commercial deployment.
In the coming age
of unreliable fossil fuel supplies, to produce electricity locally would also be
prudent. Surely we need to know the alternatives before saying 'yes' to this and
'no' to that.