With the publication of the Friends of the Earth [FoE] document, Wind Power 20 Myths Blown Away, fully endorsed by Minister AM 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 – a veritable symphony in spin.
I am surprised Davidson’s advisors let her be a party to this report.
If we take just one of the 20 points:
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 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, which has been highly criticised for its “false and untrue statements” in its Environmental Statement for its Romney Marsh 27-turbine application, and of whom a QC said: “NWP are trying to manipulate public opinion.” And the figures they quoted were based on opinion of the Taff Ely turbines which are a mere 40-metres, high – modern turbine applications are for structures 110-metres high, and rising!
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 Power Station with 341 offshore turbines – if the big money is having a rethink on their renewable energy strategy, then maybe some technology that is more value-for-money is on the way causing a panic in the wind turbine industry? Also, across the TAN8 areas involving Forestry Commission land, the names of some developers being given the rights to make applications for wind power stations on Forestry estate have been published, but not yet for Brechfa Forest. So a flood of applications might soon 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.
18 June 2008
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