By Clive Wakely. The message that onshore wind farms are not just overrated, but a blot on the landscape, has clearly not filtered through to the Government, leading some to question whether politicians and “decision makers” have shares in the foreign companies involved in the manufacture, installation and maintenance of such facilities.
According to Government experts Britain needs 4,500 more giant turbines if the Government’s climate change targets in respect of alleged “sustainable development” are to be achieved.
That this figure is based on Britain’s current level of population, meaning it takes no account of further (largely immigration related) growth, ensures that it is a moving target.
We have previously reported on this site how the Government plans to “liberalize” planning legislation – making it easier for developers to get wind farm and other projects through the planning maze; a change in emphasis that will require protestors (that is, local people) to prove the detrimental consequences of development rather than the developers having to establish the benefits.
The principle reason why the Government now proposes a change in emphasis in local planning policy is to shift local planning decision making in favour of the developer; many big Government projects (such as Heathrow’s Terminal Five) having suffered grievous delays arising from the “unhelpful” objections of concerned local people.
Now the Government has determined that wind farms are necessary for economic growth and that the objections of local people are to be frustrated at every turn; such is the state of “democracy” in Britain.
Consequently it is no surprise that the proposed planning policy changes are being criticized by groups concerned with the protection of both the countryside and our national heritage, groups such as the National Trust.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is also reportedly upset.
The CPRE being a liberal organization; one conscious of the link between overpopulation and environmental degradation; yet one unable or, rather, unwilling, to acknowledge the only too obvious correlation between immigration, population growth and overpopulation.
However it is quite right when it asserts: “One would assume the default ‘yes to development’ applies to wind farms as it does with all kinds of development like roads and housing.”
It is also reported that some Tory MPs, particularly those representing marginal suburban and rural constituencies (often home to influential and vocal anti-wind farm protest groups), are also “concerned”.
Whether they are concerned for the countryside or for their parliamentary survival, is a matter very much open to debate.
The same draft national planning framework will require that local authorities should identify “suitable areas for regeneration”, thus making it easier to get planning permission for wind farms in particular.
Coincidentally(?) a separate “independent” analysis recently published by the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, surprisingly(?) supports the Government assertion that planning reforms are essential to “deliver the infrastructure we need to reduce our carbon emissions”.
To be precise the renewable energy strategy states that onshore wind power will need to supply up to 13GW of Britain’s energy by 2020; which is good news for foreign wind turbine manufacturers and their British shareholders.
In response the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity collating and publishing data on the energy sector, said the target would result in the construction of around 4,500 new wind turbines.
Presently Britain has 2,000 wind turbines, which is around 2000 too many for a growing number of people.
A spokesman for the charity is reported as claiming that the new Government planning proposals have been specifically formulated to make it easier for developers to build turbines against the wishes of local people.
The spokesman said: “The UK’s planning system prevents development where the damage of the proposal exceeds the benefits,
“It would be very foolish to distort the planning process as a quick fix for a broken energy policy or, worse still, to produce unsustainable flash-in-the-pan economic growth.”
This accusation has naturally been denied by a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, who retorted: “It is wrong to suggest the presumption in favour of sustainable development is a green light for wind turbines, or any other type of development.”
Meanwhile, up in Yorkshire, a thousand-year-old church near Selby is planning to host an event to raise awareness of plans to build two unsightly wind farms in the area.
St. Mary’s, in the village of Birkin, is widely recognized as one of the oldest Norman churches in Britain.
Local residents fear that if the proposal for the two wind farms is approved that they will spoil the views and atmosphere of the area.
A spokesman for the local anti-wind farm campaign explained: “When you approach the church you are travelling through open countryside. If these wind farms get built it will spoil the view every way you look”.
To raise public awareness it is intended to fly a large balloon over the village this weekend at 410 feet – which residents claim will be the height of the proposed two-dozen wind turbines.
As far as we can determine there are no plans by West Oxfordshire District Council to approve any wind farms within view of Witney, where Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has his large luxury “constituency” home.