Sir, Debates in the press and these columns regarding the Government’s offshore wind turbine initiative have paid too little attention to the continuing threat to the British countryside and people’s homes arising from onshore wind turbine applications currently under way.
The conservation group Country Guardian lists, on its website, more than 150 action groups that are fighting these proposals. Beautiful parts of Britain are being destroyed, and there is anger that wind development companies are being allowed to cynically exploit the weakness in planning regulations that allows turbines to be sited far too close to homes.
President Sarkozy, addressing the Grenelle Environment Summit in October, announced the end of industrial wind turbines in rural France, stating that they should, rather, be built on brownfield sites. He also added: “Frankly, when I fly over a number of European countries, what I see does not recommend wind energy.” France’s switch in policy, unreported in the British press, followed a demonstration by representatives of more than 800 French villages under threat. It is time that the politicians in this country followed suit. Subsidies for onshore wind turbines should be stopped and planners told that applications will only be approved on brownfield sites – if at all.
Sir, I have read Mr David Cameron’s green paper “Power to the people” in its entirety. As a chartered engineer of more than 40 years experience in the UK electricity industry, I find its treatment of this complex and vital subject profound only in its naivety.
Meanwhile, our Government, as evidenced by Mr John Hutton’s recent “seven thousand offshore wind turbines” speech in Germany, is still not grasping the nettle of nuclear power, which is the only green solution to the massive electricity generation shortage rapidly approaching.
France, which decided to “go nuclear” more than 30 years ago, now generates the cheapest and cleanest electricity in Europe, and is building (and plans to build one annually) the biggest nuclear steam turbine unit in the world, thus endorsing yet again the economies of scale that were pioneered successfully by the UK nationalised electricity industry more than 50 years ago. Microgeneration, on the scale promoted by Mr Cameron, is an economic and practical fallacy.
Sir, We don’t have enough gas or oil left in the North Sea, wind farms only work when it’s windy and we cannot turn all our agriculture over to biofuel, so there is only one answer and that is nuclear energy.
Whereas the US has vast untapped Alaskan resources, we have the Isles of Scilly. If we don’t face this harsh reality soon, we will become increasingly reliant on Moscow, and eventually become a backwater island drowning in debt.
S. T. Vaughan
1 January 2008
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