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Protesters step up wind farm campaign in ‘Megawatt Valley’  

Credit:  By Paul Jeeves, Yorkshire Post, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 12 April 2011 ~~

Protesters are intensifying a campaign to provide a unified voice against wind farms centred on Yorkshire’s so-called Megawatt Valley amid accusations the technology is deeply flawed.

A series of developments have been earmarked to build scores of turbines along an arc of land across the Selby district and into North Lincolnshire.

It is understood that the locations have been chosen as they give easy access to tap into the National Grid due to the close proximity of three major power stations at Drax, Ferrybridge and Eggborough, which have seen the area dubbed Megawatt Valley.

However, the Conservative MP for Selby and Ainsty, Nigel Adams, has raised serious questions over the validity of onshore wind turbines.

Mr Adams has been a vocal critic of the source of renewable energy, claiming that the amount of power generated by the turbines is not worth the impact on the surrounding communities and environment.

He made a scathing attack yesterday against onshore wind farms, branding them the “chocolate fireguard” of renewable energy.

Mr Adams said: “Onshore wind farms attract a huge amount of public subsidies, but they are inefficient and often do not provide the power when it is needed most. They do not produce enough energy in the winter months as the wind is simply not blowing.

“In terms of them being a realistic solution to preventing climate change, they are about as effective as a chocolate fireguard.

“The Selby district could quite feasibly become a forest of windmills. The district’s taxpayers would look out of their window and think they not helped pay to build the turbines, but are also helping run the wind farms as well.”

Mr Adams claimed that a far greater emphasis should be placed on other technology such as solar panels and bio-fuels, which are already being piloted at power stations including Drax.

Campaigners have drawn up a map of proposed developments which they claim would see 20 wind farms with more than 200 turbines, often more than 400ft high, built in the Selby district and into North Lincolnshire.

Planning applications that have been submitted include three proposed schemes at Woodlane, Bishops Wood and Cleek Hall which would circle the North Yorkshire town.

Major developments have already been approved at Goole Fields, Tween Bridge, Keadby and Twin Rivers in North Lincolnshire.

A meeting is planned for tomorrow when campaigners will discuss drawing up a detailed action plan to oppose the developments. Dr Howard Ferguson is leading the attempt to provide a co-ordinated campaign against the wind farms.

The physicist, who lives at Hillam, near Selby, said: “People are concerned that they are not being given enough information about the proposed schemes.

“It is socially unacceptable to victimise communities with the possibility of building a wind farm on their doorstep, which often leads to years of uncertainty.”

But industry representatives maintained the turbines represent a vital source of renewable energy, with major economic benefits. The professional body for the wind and marine renewables industries, RenewableUK, was formed in 1978.

A spokesman stressed that the UK’s density of turbines is significantly lower than other European nations, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

He added: “The fact of the matter is that we could be getting much more from wind not just in units of energy, but also in terms of green jobs and economic benefits to local communities.”

He claimed that RenewableUK’s initial research on economic benefits revealed about £1m from each megawatt installed stays at a local and regional level during the wind farm’s lifetime.

Source:  By Paul Jeeves, Yorkshire Post, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 12 April 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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