Yet another windfarm application has gone public in the last few days in Belford, North Northumberland; the Lynemouth windfarm is nearing completion (as no-one locally will have failed to notice – it is visible for miles) and another application is expected before Christmas on our very doorstep at Edington, between Morpeth and Whalton.
An article this week in The Telegraph points to massive government subsidy as the reason for the current explosion of windfarms across parts of Britain, or ‘dash for cash’ as it is becoming known.
Huge developers make massive profit from what many see as the desecration of our beautiful, wild and once unspoiled county.
Galling enough, but even more so when we read that two thirds of wind turbines in the UK are owned by foreign companies.
This means that over half-a-billion pounds in subsidies, generated from our household bills, is being leached annually from our economy.
So, when as last weekend, northerly windfarms were stopped in the high tail winds of Hurricane Katia, most of the £4.36million pay-out (yes, paid just for stopping!) went abroad.
Foreign windfarm companies are keen to invest in Britain because it is the windiest country in Europe – meaning huge energy profits.
Where do these foreign firms hail from?
To look at examples in our own locality, the developer at Edington is Falck Renewables, an Italian firm, with a Saudi Arabian agent TNEI/Petrofac.
The Ray developer near Kirkwhelpington is Vattenfall, of Sweden. The troubled turbines at Kirkheaton belong to French firm EDF.
The feeding frenzy for what might be time-limited grant funding is leading to indiscriminate siting of industrial windfarms despoiling our local landscapes.
And who pays?
Yes, us, with £200 a year per household energy bill, going straight into foreign developers’ deep pockets.
In recent days, a former chancellor has spoken out against so much government money being picked up by foreign companies.
Lord Lawson, chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘[Windfarms are] absolutely pointless, extremely damaging both for the British economy and for British consumers … To have so many foreign companies creaming off the subsidy merely adds insult to injury.’
These disturbing figures are set to rise even further, with so many windfarm proposals for Northumberland in the pipeline, as the government attempts to meet its carbon reduction targets in 2020.
The proposed new planning changes will further favour windfarm plans, and with a new ‘presumption in favour of development’, there may be no stopping industrial scale wind power stations, coming shortly to a site near you!
Annie Wright and Steve Lloyd,
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