Saving the planet or preserving national security has emerged as a key issue in the Middlemoor inquiry, and there are some tough choices to be made.
On the one hand, we’re told we need to radically cut carbon emissions and embrace green technology, which means building turbines.
On the other, in an increasingly uncertain world we need to have steadfast defences to protect us from the scourge of terrorism and rogue nations.
This is where, according to the Ministry of Defence, a major problem arises.
Wind turbines, they say, will seriously compromise their ability to protect the nation from airborne attack.
But let’s step away from the material arguments for a moment, and look at why we’ve found ourselves in – or rather, the Government has put itself in – this situation.
Two key national policies have collided head-on at the Northumberland Hall in Alnwick and are at something of an impasse.
The Government must bear the bulk of the responsibility for allowing a piecemeal approach to wind development in Northumberland, which has seen a Klondyke-style rush by developers to get turbines up and running. Heavy subsidies for the industry have also surely played a major part in generating such enthusiasm.
But this ill-conceived approach is now backfiring badly, because it potentially impedes the boys in blue who over-fly the region every day and monitor our skies against hostile forces.
The phrase ‘joined-up thinking’ – or lack of it – springs to mind.
Someone has to sort this mess out.
The question is who and how?
22 November 2007
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