The Government’s decision to approve a wind farm at Fullabrook will, if implemented, have woeful consequences, ripping the heart out of rural North Devon. Make no mistake, these planned turbines are giant industrial artifacts, each one reaching more than 120 yards into the sky, each monster higher than St Paul’s cathedral, dominating the landscape, generating noise pollution.
The announcement was clearly part of a raft of measures announced last week to launch a general election campaign, had Gordon Brown not bottled out of it.
You can see the reasoning in Energy Minister Malcolm Wick’s statement about ‘tough’ choices’ to meet ‘clean energy objectives’. Unfortunately, the net energy contribution from the massive investment will be minimal, and it will do little or nothing to halt climate change.
The Government wanted to demonstrate its hard-nosed green credentials. It has unfortunately no appetite for the really difficult action which would make a difference, such as compelling existing homes as well as new homes to be adopt energy saving features, switching from road building to public transport and using tax to phase out out petrol and diesel vehicles.
The decision is only ‘tough’ on the people of North Devon, especially those whose lives and homes will be blighted, and it will be tough on taxpayers who will have to subsidise it.
I do not think that all is yet lost. Devon County Councillor Andrea Davis has talked about seeking a judicial review. Please Andrea, set up a fighting fund for this: I will certainly contribute to it.
In the meantime, we could perhaps ask our local Conservative and Lib Dem candidates for the North Devon constituency to ask their respective parties to pledge to overturn the decision, should they attain power at the next general election.
Given the Government’s lies over Iraq, a projected imminent economic downturn and likely crash in house prices, the outcome of an election in May 2009 could well be a Conservative victory or a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
In view of the magnitude of the calamity that now faces North Devon, I believe that Devon County Council will be within its rights to subject the details of the proposed scheme to exhaustive scrutiny.
So it may not be too late to change, if our present feeble Government is kicked out in 18 months time.
Failing all of that, I for one would not blame people in the hamlets most affected, including the village of West Down, for taking direct action.
When your home has become unsaleable, when you face years of misery from the persistent ‘thudding’ of the turbines, what else is there to lose?
17 October 2007
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