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Subject: The Shipdham Inquiry


Terry Macalister's article (29 December 2008) refers to a "windfarm revolution tangled in red tape" and cites the Shipdham Inquiry as an example. He could not be more wrong.

As a retired independent chartered engineer I have advised local residents in their campaign against the Shipdham windfarm proposal and was a technical witness at the first Inquiry in August 2003, when the appeal was dismissed on noise grounds, ultimately sustained in the High Court.

In the December 2008 Inquiry I appeared again to offer an engineering opinion. I have witnessed the recent Inquiry procedures at first hand.  

The accusation of "delays due to red tape", whatever that may mean, has no foundation in fact. The recent Inquiry was completed several days in advance of programme by a very efficient Inspector who engaged with every participant and won the confidence of all who took part. 

The problem is countrywide and not just at Shipdham.  It lies in the profoundly anti-democratic attitude of an authoritarian government bent on steam rollering its obsession with nigh-on useless wind power through the planning system, rather than allowing that well-tried system to do its job, and regardless of the democratic rights of opposition by host communities. Never before has Government sold its heart and soul to an industry that purveys a product which promises so much and delivers so little.

The spectre of windpower anywhere at any cost antagonises communities and causes them to rise in protest. The true reason why the wind programme takes its time in a democratically based planning system is that intelligent people right across Britain have worked out that it conveys a false prospectus against climate change and pollution, and in the end is only a short cut to masses of money for the very few, as well as threatening the very roots of our democratic society.

Alan Shaw

 Article to which above letter refers

Windfarm revolution tangled in red tape

262 UK projects await planning permission

Renewable energy target looks increasingly remote

    * Terry Macalister
   * The Guardian, Monday 29 December 2008