A large blue-and-white striped helium balloon flew over North Cornwall on Monday, sending a defiant message to an energy firm that another wind farm will not be tolerated.
The balloon was sent up to 100 metres high – the proposed height of six new turbines being considered for Lanivet, near Bodmin, by Ecotricity.
Although the company has yet to submit a formal planning application, the protest group BLOT (Bodmin and Lanivet Opposes Turbines) has come out fighting with 30 to 40 placard-carrying protestors gathering on Monday for the demonstration of the actual height of the proposed turbines.
The group’s spokesman, Helen Watson, said: “At 100m high, these turbines would be the highest in Cornwall or Devon. I am all for green energy, but wind farms have been shown to be inefficient as opposed to wave and water power which is where we should be concentrating our efforts.
“But these applications have nothing to do with concerns about being green but everything to do with the greenbacks being paid in subsidies. All these applications are doing is filling the bank accounts of fat cats and not solving the green energy problem.
“I have a great deal of sympathy with the farmers who are being targeted by these green energy companies. I can understand that they have made a business decision but they are being conned. These companies are being paid huge amounts in subsidies to open these wind farms even though they have been proved to be inefficient.”
BLOT claims that wind turbines have an adverse affect on house prices, with a spokesman saying: “If the turbines are allowed, we have been told that property values in the affected areas would be expected to drop by between 20 and 30 per cent.”
This statement was rejected by Ecotricity. The company’s managing director, Dale Vince, said: “BLOT is repeating false claims regarding wind energy that only last week were slammed by the advertising watchdog the ASA, who said these claims are unsupported by the facts and likely to mislead the public. “The ASA has ruled that these claims are false and cannot be made. We call on BLOT to get its facts straight and remove the false claims from its website.
“The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity is this country’s single biggest cause of climate change, responsible for over 30 per cent of our carbon emissions. The biggest thing we can all do is change where our energy comes from. Wind turbines are an essential part of this.”
Ecotricity is not yet at a stage where it is ready to submit a planning applications and in a statement said: “Ecotricity has a policy of only installing wind turbines where they will make good neighbours.
“We take responsibility for all of our projects from beginning to end, managing site selection, planning, construction, lifelong maintenance and decommissioning 30 years later.
“Our decisions are driven by good practice and the need for wind energy to be sustainable in all senses of the word.”
30 January 2008
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