With the publication of the Friends of the Earth document “Wind Power 20 Myths Blown Away”, fully endorsed by Minister Jane Davidson, I was highly amused at the very clever way it has been worded – and the way it has neatly avoided giving a full and balanced picture. It is a veritable symphony in spin.
I am surprised that Davidson’s advisers let her be a party to this biased “report”.
If we take just one of the twenty – No 17: Wind farms harm property prices.
The FoE document quotes two reports saying they don’t. Well, the planning inspector who turned down the appeal by Renewable Energy Systems against the council refusal for 10 wind turbines at Rhos Garn, Llandysul, thought differently.
He referred to a property owner near the site and said: “I can well imagine that if this proposal was allowed, he may well have difficulty selling his property.”
In addition, a letter has been sent by some estate agents to the owners of a farm near Spalding that has been blighted by the noise and vibration of nearby turbines, saying “I do not believe any prospective purchaser would want to inhabit the property, or, indeed in the current climate, whether any mortgage lender would be prepared to lend on the property.”
They go on to “decline any instructions to market the … property.”
One of the two reports quoted by the FoE was commissioned by NWP ( National Wind Power) one of the UK’s largest wind power station developers, who have been highly criticised for their “false and untrue statements” in their environmental statement for their Romney Marsh 27-turbine application, and of whom a QC said “NWP are trying to manipulate public opinion.”
I do wonder if this publication at this particular time has anything to do with the fact that Shell has pulled out of the London Array wind factory with 341 off-shore turbines – if the big money is having a rethink on their renewable energy strategy, then maybe something more value-for-money is on the way and there is panic in the wind turbine industry? Also, across the TAN8 areas involving Forestry Commission land, we have been given the names of some of the developers being given the rights to make applications, with more expected “soon”. So a flood of applications might well be hitting the desks of county council planning departments, or a desk in Westminster for the bigger ones – so this report might be designed to do the “greenwash” bit.
16 May 2008