The other day I walked up on to Codden Hill, near Barnstaple, in North Devon. It is a favourite and much-loved spot for Barnstaple people, and has magnificent views, whether towards the sea, towards Exmoor, or inland to the south.
When the Fullabrook Down wind power station is built, that view towards the sea will be lost to all of us. North Devon will never be the same again – it will become a wind farm landscape.
I took some photographs while I was there, as a record for the future, and they can be seen online on the www.artistsagainstwindfarms.com website that I set up in response to the Fullabrook Down proposal.
I thought too of the people who live on those hills and in their quiet hidden valleys. I have met many of them, and seen their anxiety and distress. They were doing no-one any harm, just getting on with their lives, living quietly in the countryside.
If, after these giant turbines are erected, their houses become unsaleable, they will receive no compensation.
It all might be bearable if their sacrifice was worth it – but it is not.
As was reported, for example, in the Sunday Telegraph by Roger Dobson and Richard Grey, a new report in the journal Energy Policy shows that wind power would be too unreliable to meet Britain’s electricity needs.
All across Britain, more and more people are beginning to understand this.
In the Isle of Lewis, two Labour politicians who supported the wind farm that was rejected there in April lost their seats, and were replaced by opponents of the wind farm.
Sian Lloyd, who once supported wind power, was one of many celebrities to sign a recent letter of protest to the Welsh Assembly. People in Wales have seen the reality of giant industrial wind turbines, and they are protesting about them.
Here in Devon, many people don’t yet understand what is in store for our county. How sad it is that by the time they do, it will be too late.
We will have lost our most precious asset, our beautiful countryside – and to rub salt in our wounds we will pay for it in the future with higher electricity bills and power cuts.
8 July 2008
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