Building a huge wind turbine on the South Downs could undermine its tranquillity, one of the most important qualities sought by the public when visiting the countryside. This is the concern of campaigners, united in opposition to Glyndebourne Opera’s proposal to construct an industrial scale turbine within the designated South Downs National Park.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England  is due to give evidence at the Glyndebourne Wind Turbine Planning Inquiry on the possible threat to tranquillity on Wednesday 4 March. Tom Oliver, Head of Rural Policy at CPRE, which is a member of the South Downs Environmental Protection Consortium (SDEPC)  said:
‘This huge turbine would be clearly visible from a great tract of the countryside, including from the South Downs Way national trail. Its rotating, spiky blades would disrupt the magnificence of the broad horizon of the downs and distract anyone seeking to find inspiration from the harmonious landscape of this special part of England.’ 
There is growing consensus that the experience of tranquillity is beneficial to human health and well-being. Increasingly, this experience is threatened and diminished by poorly conceived and located development. The urgent need to combat climate change which will include expansion of renewable sources of energy, should not be at the expense of the very landscapes we seeking to protect from climate change.
‘It is a sad irony that Glyndebourne, which is rightly renowned for creating one kind of beauty, should care little that their scheme could deprive so many people of another precious experience,’ Tom Oliver continued.
‘Our tranquillity maps show what is at stake, how tranquillity is put at risk by this proposal across extensive parts of the countryside, including many tranquil areas outside the designated National Park. Both residents and the huge number of visitors to the South Downs stand to lose if this intrusive structure is imposed on the landscape,’ Tom Oliver concluded.
David Murray, Countryside Campaigner for the Ramblers’ Association, a member of the SDEPC, agreed:
‘CPRE’s findings highlight the inappropriateness of the scale and location of this turbine in a tranquil landscape; a rare commodity in the South East of England. The SDEPC supports renewable energy as one way to decrease our impact on the planet. However, this can be achieved without threatening our most valued landscapes, for example, by offshore energy generation and small scale renewable energy technologies.’
Jacquetta Fewster, Director of the South Downs Society, which is another member of the SDEPC, said:
‘People come to the South Downs to get away from the rush and noise of modern life. They want to take in unspoilt views, and listen to the wind in the grass. The challenge is to build renewable energy technology which doesn’t destroy the tranquillity and beauty we all cherish so much.’
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. www.cpre.org.uk CPRE Sussex has over 2,000 members with 11 Districts representing members across the County.
2. The South Downs Environmental Protection Consortium (including CPRE) consists of:
• The Council for National Parks: CNP is the national charity that works to protect and enhance the National Parks of England and Wales, and areas that merit National Park status, and promote understanding and quiet enjoyment of them for the benefit of all.
• The Ramblers’ Association: Britain’s biggest organisation working for walkers. A registered charity with 137,000 members across England, Scotland and Wales, it has been looking after Britain’s footpaths and defending its beautiful countryside since 1935.
• The South Downs Society: a charity set up to conserve and enhance the beauty and amenities of the South Downs for the benefit of the public. It was established in 1923 and successfully defeated proposals for unsuitable coastal development overlooking the famous Seven Sisters area.
• The Open Spaces Society: founded in 1865, is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect and create common land, town and village greens and public rights of way.
3. CPRE is giving evidence on Wednesday, 5 March, on the possible threat to tranquillity of the proposed wind turbine at Glyndebourne.
5 March 2008
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