Hooray for the Scottish Parliament I say. Let’s hope they stick to their guns and continue to resist Westminster’s crazy energy plans. You say: “A small island. A huge wind farm. The future of Britain’s energy at stake” (26 January). I say: the destruction of a Scottish island on the holy altar of greenish, to provide electricity, very inefficiently, for England.
How dare you imply that Lewis is an insignificant island that has no other use, and the destruction of its natural beauty is entirely justified to provide energy to England?
If you are so adamant that Britain needs wind turbines, why not build them along the Pennine chain? Lots of wind throughout the year and a lot closer to the major cities.
Of course it does not have the “out of sight out of mind” benefits that Lewis offers. It’s time we looked much more closely at the supposed benefits of wind power and its long-lasting effects on all the sites that will be blighted forever by these grotesque erections.
Some months ago, I went to a renewable-energy conference in Bonn where I was expecting to find a crowd of excited engineers and environmentalists who had a vision of saving the planet.
But it wasn’t like that at all: the conference was full of marketing people, finance-houses and lobbyists who were obviously on a “subsidy-hunt” interested only in the money that the government would pay them to put up wind turbines.
And why have turbines anyway? Do we really want them covering our countryside and destroying natural habitats simply so that we, the public, can have tumble-driers, air-conditioning and wide-screen TVs that we leave on all day?
All I can say here is no, no, no: the government should slap high taxes on electricity and on unnecessary electrical goods and we should return to using washing lines, put up with slightly higher temperatures on summer days and switch off our TVs so that we can spend time either reading a book, engaging in conversation or going for a walk.
Wind-turbines should be put up only where they give specific, direct benefit by (for example) providing power to remote rural communities. This would be much more effective than feeding their drops of power into the vast ocean of the national grid.
I get so mad when I hear about these techno-fixes: they are political red-herrings which will not solve the basic problem which is that we, the public, are too rich, too lazy and too pampered – that is what is destroying the planet!
As a regular reader, I find your reporting on the Lewis wind farm scheme thoughtless and hypocritical. Not so long ago you printed an article which called for all the peat-land areas of England to be protected against destruction, as their valuable roles as carbon stores are vital in the fight against climate change.
The Lewis peat-land is the largest undisturbed blanket bog in Europe. It is a rare habitat which is acknowledged to be as important as the tropical forest of Brazil. This is why it carries European designations of Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation, as well as recognition under the UN Ramsar Convention.
Once destroyed, blanket bog can never be restored. This irreplaceable loss would be the price paid for a wind-power scheme which Amec expects to have a working life of 25 years.
It is difficult for readers of The Independent on the Isle of Lewis to square your apparent desire to hammer home the need to protect some environments but not ours. Could it be that the English peat-lands are nearer to your London homes, and the Brazilian rainforest is very big and exotic?
ISLE OF LEWIS
Undoubtedly we need wind farms and solar power and a host of other measures to mitigate the serious effects of global warming. But these measures must not be undertaken at the expense of the biodiversity of our last remaining wild places.
I’m afraid that governments have taken on board people’s very real fears about global warming and see that there are votes in appearing to address the problem. However, the politicians seldom mention any concern for the organisms with which we share our planet.
Inappropriately sited wind farms are a hazard to wildlife. To cite just one example: in 2006 a wind farm off the coast of Norway, built against the advice of scientists, killed nine white-tailed eagles over a period of 10 months, a figure which included all the young fledged on that island in the previous year.
If the decision as to whether the wind farm is to go ahead is a “no” then it will send a signal to developers that efforts should be concentrated in areas likely to be environmentally acceptable.
Driffield, East Yorkshire
29 January 2008
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