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Lettter from: Sir Bernard Ingham
North Devon Journal                                                            26 January 2006


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 industry.

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 warming.

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.

The 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.

So 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 unfounded allegation.

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

We 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 and

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 merits.

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 Devon.
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.

West Down,