A triumph of ambition over achievement! Not, as you may think, a reference to Tony Blair (although it does fit him) but rather to Peter Crone.’Who is he?’ I hear you ask.
He is the managing director of Farm Energy and came to prominence last week with the announcement of the Atlantic Array wind farm he plans to build in the Bristol Channel. He is also the man who planned to infest Bratton Fleming and West Down with wind turbines some six years ago and was soundly put in his place by the concerted efforts of the people of North Devon.
This time he may well succeed because off-shore wind farms would not bring the undoubted damage to the environment and economy of their on-shore cousins. In the traditional fashion of over-stating the case we have come to expect of the wind energy industry, he claims that the output of 1,500 mega watts would satisfy the whole of Devon.
To the casual observer, this may well appear to far exceed the requirements of the Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) adopted by North Devon District Council in June of last year. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a letter to me last year, Malcolm Prowse, ex-leader of NDDC, explained that ‘unfortunately, off-shore production only goes towards the regional target’. So the message is clear.
Let the debate about the Atlantic Array take its course, but don’t allow it to dominate the agenda so that it masks the on-going threat from those who still see North Devon as prime on-shore territory. These people still need to be told they are not welcome and it would send a powerful message to all such developers if the new leadership of NDDC were to repudiate the vote taken by the previous administration and dump the REAP.
After all, if the regional target is (more than) met by Peter Crone’s new project, why should the people of North Devon be saddled with the dictats of the un-elected South West regional assembly and thus be required to continue the fight against on-shore turbines?
SURELY by creating a wind farm the size of the Isle of Wight off the North Devon Coast, an extreme hazard to navigation will be created. Imagine the scenario: a 200,000 ton flag of convenience super tanker fully laden, navigating by Phillips World Atlas with the ship’s dog on the bridge as duty watch keeper crashing into this man-made eyesore. Ships breakdown, and believe me the Bristol channel and its approaches are a dangerous stretch of water.
Let’s hope it will be shelved. The only danger is that such projects flush out consultants and county council jobsworths from the woodwork much to the chagrin of the council tax payer.
AN ARMADA of turbines the size of the Isle of Wight is proposed to be erected off the North Devon coast.
They could number up to 350 and will be among the largest in the UK.
This signals death to marine birdlife and stunning views. The plans are both greedy, environmental overkill and will ruin the whole reputation of North Devon as a virtually unspoilt capsule of countryside and coast.
It is truly a privilege to live and die in this beautiful part of the UK. Of course, we have to pay for past mistakes and find alternative solutions to combat global warming. A much better way is to support Wavehub power. It is really clean, efficient and is in abundance just waiting to be tapped into.
This proposal is horrendous and must be resisted vigorously. It is the mother of all campaigns. ‘Say Yes and Regret Later’ when you realise a costly mistake. Don’t moan when the turbines have spoilt your unique and vulnerable little area – because that’s all it is, a few short miles of glorious country and coast.
Stand up for North Devon against development extremes or forever regret.
Western Morning News
24 May 2007
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