At a time when environmental awareness has never been more acute, it does seem strange that the Westcountry is failing to meet its renewable energy targets. If renewables are essential to sustainable energy generation, then it follows that we need a big collective push in that direction. If they are so important as well to reducing carbon emissions, then likewise.
And yet, as we report, Regen SW is blaming local councils for holding back the momentum towards more renewables. It calculates that, at present, just 2 per cent of the power used to heat and run buildings is derived from “clean” energy such as wind, water and sun. That is way short of the target of 11-15 per cent set for 2010.
More particularly, Matthew Spencer, the agency’s chief executive, blames local authorities’ obstructiveness to wind turbines for the shortfall.
We have an alternative theory – applications are being turned down because local authorities have the good sense not to permit them in areas of environmental sensitivity, or local beauty spots. What worthwhile purpose would be achieved by damaging local environments in the name of environmentalism?
If windfarm developers want a better response from local councils, it’s simple: be far more careful about where you plan the turbines.
17 April 2007
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