Please spare us a thought. We are your neighbours at Whitfield and we don’t want the proposed industrial wind farm opposite our homes in your fields by the A1, between Reston and Ayton. They are your fields and, as the ‘guardians of the countryside’, we greatly admire your hard work However, if the proposed wind farm is built in your fields, it will be us that pay the real price.
You will gain monetary compensation by sharing in the German wind developer’s excessive returns; paid for by ordinary people across the Borders in their inflated electricity bills. For us, there is no compensation for our loss and suffering, as our landscape is blighted, our health suffers, and we are robbed of our income and the value of our homes. How would you feel if someone did this to you and your family?
We understand that you wish to make additional money, but can it be right to do so through the suffering of others? Your financial gain will be far outweighed by the misery inflicted on us, your neighbours. The economic damage to Reston alone will be considerable, as investment in new houses and jobs is put at risk by the wind farm. We assume that you didn’t intend to hurt us nor the local economy, but that doesn’t make your actions any less damaging. We cannot believe that you do not care.
We fear for our health and our sanity. We happily accept the everyday noises of a modern, working farm. However, the noisy industrial electricity aero-generation facility they call a ‘wind farm’ requires none of your labours, and we object to it most strenuously. This noise is alien to our countryside and has proven distressing to many who are forced to live close to wind turbines.
We fear these monster turbines towering some 410 feet above us. They depart from the established pattern of locating wind farms in the Scottish Borders within upland landscapes that exhibit a strong degree of topographical containment. They will introduce a visually dominant feature into our landscape, ruining our vistas and lives. In such a smooth slopping and gently rolling landform, they will represent a hazard to road users, especially on the A1. For those of us nearby, we fear that we may be affected by ‘shadow flicker’, caused when rotating turbine blades periodically cast shadows through openings, such as windows of nearby houses.
It hurts that you didn’t let us know your intentions, or hear our story. We are not being consulted in the true sense of that word. Hence, this letter to you – to tell you that we are afraid and hurting. Building the proposed industrial wind farm so close to our homes will destroy our lives and our savings.
Perhaps you console yourself in the belief that you are helping to “save the planet” and secure the country’s energy needs? We wish that were true – at least our suffering would not be totally in vain. Perhaps you don’t realise that wind energy does not provide anything like the headline figures promised and has little beneficial effect on the planet?
Wind energy is neither continuous nor predictable. It is, by its very nature, uncontrollable. The practical upshot of this is that for every unit of electricity produced by wind farms, an equivalent capacity must be instantly available from predictable, reliable sources of generation. That imposes additional costs – with ever increasing amounts of conventional generation spinning ready to take up the slack when the wind doesn’t blow. Typically, wind turbines won’t generate for 70% of an average day. Often the output is negligible – for example, in December 2010, the metered output of all wind turbines was less than 20MW when electricity demand in Britain peaked at 60,050 MW. Wind energy is not the answer.
We know that is not your problem to solve, but it is important you understand the merits of wind energy. Our political leaders appear confused and misguided – but then, it is our money and not theirs which they are throwing at this folly. It is us who must pay the price of all this limited-value wind energy through ever rising electricity bills. Spare a thought for your less well off neighbours in the Scottish Borders, who are falling into fuel poverty, unable to heat and light their homes.
We live side-by-side and we must get along, but what you are doing is testing that relationship to breaking point. With so much opposition to this wind farm, we kindly ask you to please reconsider your decision to sacrifice our beautiful environment. The lives of so many people locally are directly affected by your actions. Unlike you, they have no say in the decision and will receive no compensation.
Thank you for listening.
MR & MRS IAN WOOLLEN, Keepers Cottage, Whitfield
MR & MRS RAY PORTER, Westfield House, Whitfield
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