A united national campaign against inappropriate siting of onshore wind farms
We believe the time has come for a nationwide, united campaign against the inappropriate siting of onshore wind farms. Powerful corporate lobbies eager to take advantage of massive subsidies, and politicians wishing to do something symbolic, have so far been successful in persuading impressionable people of the fairy tale that wind power will contribute to keeping the lights on and reducing carbon emissions. The truth is that their meaningless contribution is massively exaggerated and comes at a greater environmental cost, as well as a very real addition to electricity bills which helps push pensioners into fuel poverty. Over the coming years much of our most beautiful countryside and most valued wild places are threatened with industrialization on a monstrous scale which will totally transform our landscape. It is left to small communities to try and stand up for the places they love, the landscape, communities, businesses and protected species. They do not have the resources to compete with multi-million corporations and are too easily dismissed by the uninformed as NIMBYs. No matter how strong the case that the thousands of tons of concrete, tens of thousands of HGV journeys, road-widening schemes, access roads etc will damage the local environment, protected species, communities, businesses, tourism etc, such concerns are readily brushed aside by national policy.The only way to save our invaluable countryside and wild places from opportunist pseudo-green vandalism is to stand united and help each other protect our most valuable countryside and wild places.
David Ramsbotham commented
There is already a petition on this.
We do not want any more onshore wind turbines/farms in Norfolk or elsewhere in the UK.
Responsible department: Department for Energy and Climate Change
We appeal to our MPs to represent our views and to vehemently oppose these projects. These plants are an uneconomical and inefficient way to produce electricity and are only pursued by the Government to secure the "green" vote and to keep the EU happy. Locally, they industrialise the landscape, have detrimental health, financial and other effects on peoples lives, destroy wildlife and have a negative impact on tourism. The billions of pounds wasted on these projects should be used in other areas to improve the lot of the British people.
So why are we building more and more land based wind farms? Our Government has committed to high targets for renewable energy production and sees wind as a major contributor. The industry only survives because about half of the annual income of an onshore wind farm comes from subsidies. This Renewable Obligation (RO) cost the UK consumer about £7.3 billion between April 2002 and March 2011, according to a parliamentary answer from Lord Marland, and about £1.5 billion in 2011, with about £500 million paid to onshore wind farms. The cost of subsidies to renewables generally, and wind in particular, are set to rise very significantly, with the total cost of the RO being around £3billion a year in 2014/15 according to DECC. The people who appear to benefit from these subsidies most are a small number of landowners and typically continental turbine manufacturers, producing very few UK jobs. All this in a time of austerity. I asked several Euro MPs to comment on the Governments approach compared to the rest of the EU and for their thoughts on wind power, one stated“UK government plans about our longterm energy supplies do not seem crystal clear to me” and another “Wind farms are driving up the cost of electricity, and undermining the competitiveness of our industry… They take money from the poor, who can't afford it, and give it to rich landowners and corporations, who don't need it… we are closing nuclear power stations… are closing perfectly good coal-fired power stations because of the European Union's Large Combustion Plant Directive. And we imagine that we can replace 30% of our generating capacity with wind. But wind is intermittent, and needs conventional back-up. We are not building that back-up”. When these turbines need replacing in 10 – 20 years time, will we continue to provide subsidies or let the industry collapse?
Our Government has recently pushed through new planning laws which assume acceptance of proposals for wind farms, meaning they can be built anywhere and everywhere. One Councilor told me “The Council objects to wind turbines being installed in our District purely for landowner’s profit in a low wind speed area of the country, but that has been overturned on Appeal by Planning Inspectors… If Planning Committee turn this down, they are likely to face an Appeal and the risk of costs. If they repeat it, they could face bigger costs and lose their planning decision powers altogether, so they will not refuse it lightly”. It appears the Government will accept any answer as long as it is yes. Our Government has recently shaken up public sector procurement policy – it seems that Local Authorities have to take into account safety, environment, value for money, community impact and sustainability when purchasing a supply of pencils but cannot do so to protect our countryside.
My local Conservative MP is has championed the campaign against wind farms in the commons, in fact I was unable to find a local Councilor, MP or Euro MP who supported the Governments approach to renewable energy or planning.
We are a small island and our countryside is too precious to tear up in the way our renewables policy and planning laws encourage. There are many alternatives – we have a huge coastline and a reliable source of energy in tidal, infrared solar panels are available that even generate energy at night and the holy grail of clean energy, LENR/CENR Cold Fusion Technology, is coming to market in 2012/12.
I managed to get hold of a report detailing over 1200 wind turbine safety incidents over the last 10 years. The reports included a turbine causing 73 ‘driver distraction’ related road traffic accidents at one site over 4 years and 3 fatalities at another, chunks of ice and even entire blades coming loose and being tossed 500m through the air onto roads and gardens,a German government-sponsored study reporting that prolonged shadow flicker can result in transient stress-related effects on cognition and autonomic nervous system functioning, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reporting that 60% of houses near wind farms had declined in value by between 5% and 50%, a caravan site losing nearly £500k business in a season when a wind farm was built nearby and a scientific study confirming turbines in Spain kill between six and eighteen million birds each year. Local communities are clearly not in favor of wind farms and suffer as a result of their presence.
A research report published this month in Texas shows that wind farms have raised local temperatures by 1 degree in 10 years, impacting on crops etc. Germany is having to build Coal power stations because it is not hitting its targets for wind generation due to unreliability.
The Royal Academy of Engineers estimate onshore wind power electricity prices to be around 5.4 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) compared with conventional power technology of between 2 and 3 pence per kWh. The Renewable Energy Forum calculated that in January, when demand is highest, wind farms can produce as little as 4% of their rated output – in fact an average UK turbine only achieves 30% of rated output and for an average of 110 days per year they may generate no electricity at all.
I have noticed the large number of wind turbines being erected in our countryside and assumed that it was all for the greater good and that we had to sacrifice rural tranquility for our children's futures. Plans to erect one near to my home caused me to take a closer look – like many people, I failed to really think about this issue until it was on my doorstep. As I looked at the pro’s and con’s of land based wind turbines, I became more and more shocked at the Government approach to energy and planning, and asked myself “did we vote for this?”
P J Smith commented
I live in a beautiful part of North Devon and we are under attack from turbine developers and their landowner clients. It would seem that every landowner with an acre plus of land has a God given right to think that he can take fistfuls of money out of the consumers pocket.
I don't here much about the good they will do (there isn't much argument in favour) but I do here about subsidies ,feed in tarriffs R.O.C.'s-which refer to the unearned, exorbitant, obscene payments they will receive. What do they need to do for this income -the answer is nothing -just put the turbine up and you will be paid.
Every day there is more evidence to confirm this is a politicle disaster inherited from a misguides former goverment that meant well but got it wrong. This current coalition are appearing to wake up to this.We as a country have chosen the wrong renewable energy. New style Nuclear ( not the old 50's Bogeyman Nuclear) is the way forward. Modern Nuclear Physicists are able to develop cleaner more efficient nuclear power station but they need encouragement and funding from Governments NOW!! If not we are sleep walking into a very wasteful and expensive distaster!
I agree that wind farms should be sited in areas that minimize impact on the landscape and ecosystems and certainly should be better camouflaged but we have lived with pylons for years and got used to them and rarely campaign about more of those ugly things going up. Wind power is just one piece of a renewable energy jigsaw and no informed wind turbine supporter would claim that it is a solution on its own. Solar, biogas, tidal, geothermal, algae etc all have their part to play in sites where environmental impact is minimal.
If we don’t take steps to reduce global warming immediately we'll see far worse and irreversible affects on our environment and across the globe. I'd rather see a campaign against building more fossil fuel powered power stations, that are misleadingly referred to as "Carbon Capture" systems. These lose far more CO2 than they capture (so why don’t they simply call them inefficient carbon emission systems?).
Re fuel bills, the cost of turbines is coming down, does anyone think coal and gas will not increase in price or that building carbon capture or nuclear stations (environmental nightmare) will not add to their fuel bills?
Surely housing developments represent the largest threat to our landscape and possible solutions include introducing real incentives to reduce the UK population, cut net immigration completely and gradually phase out child tax benefits etc. which only encourage more kids and thereby increase energy & housing demand. People need to live within their means and plan families accordingly. The biggest problem is the uncontrolled population growth. Once the nation controls that (with care) then reduced requirements for energy, food, water, transport etc. will follow and provide better chances of preserving our local environment.
Brian Tyrell commented
come to the north east of Scotland the farmers are falling over them selves to get as many in thier fields as possable its like the gold rush in the 1800 take a look at cawt.co.uk web sit and see
There is a "Wind Rush" for companies to install as many turbines as possible before FITS (Feed in Tariffs" are reduced with little or no regard to neighbours affected. This needs urgent action. support the House of Lords Bill to set minimum distances to houses dependent on the size of the turbine, Up to 50 meters tall minimum distance 1 km etc.
What is the carbon footprint of an off-shore wind generator.
From it's conceptual drawing to it's installation and don't forget the maintenance.
I think you will find that if your justification for having wind farms is related to global warming (inevitable) or pollution reduction that they may not be as effective as they appear to be.
But then again that might well be the whole idea.
Yes great idear
Colin Caudery commented
This is an excellent idea, wind farms are not only bad for our natural environment they also destabilise Britain's energy supplies and if the billions that will need to be thrown at them in a pathetic attempt over the next eight years to meet EU renewable energy targets will also greatly threaten any shoots of economic recovery. Totally support all the above and hope others will do likewise.