Anti-wind farm campaigners in the North East last night welcomed fierce criticism of the turbines by the Duke of Edinburgh.
In a blistering attack on the rising tide of wind turbine developments, the Duke described wind farms as “useless” and “a disgrace”.
Prince Philip rapped the onshore wind turbine industry’s reliance upon electricity customers’ subsidies.
In comments that put him firmly against Government policy in favour of wind energy developments, the Duke said wind farms could “never work” and claimed those who supported them were living a “fairy-tale”.
Leading environmentalist Dr David Bellamy led the praise for the outspoken Duke for putting forward his influential viewpoint.
Dr Bellamy, 78, who lives in Weardale, told The Journal: “I heartily agree with everything the Duke of Edinburgh says. The prince is outspoken – but 99.9% of times he is saying the right thing.
“Wind farms are sacrilege in our beautiful countryside. I have written personally to Prince Philip today thanking him for what he has said.
“It adds strength to our case and the fight against the monstrosity of wind farms, which in Northumberland have now become a major issue.”
Last month, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne stirred controversy on a visit to Newcastle by describing wind turbines as “elegant” and “beautiful”, and criticising opponents.
The Duke’s views became public following a conversation with Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of leading wind energy firm Infinerg, who was quoted in a Sunday newspaper.
“He said they were absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace,” Mr Wilmar revealed. “I was surprised by his very frank views.”
The Duke’s assertion that wind turbines need back-up capacity because of their unreliability was echoed by Georgina Leyland of the Middleton Burn Action Group in Northumberland, which is currently fighting a wind farm application near Elsdon.
Mrs Leyland declared: “They are unpredictable, inefficient and erratic. What the Duke has said is incredibly positive and I hope it triggers an urgent, immediate discussion with the real facts.
“Everyone who knows anything about wind turbines knows they are a complete scam and the country cannot afford to carry on with such a waste of time.
“Wind turbines cause terrible problems for the grid because they surge and then un-surge.
“I think Prince Philip speaks for thousands of us who love this country. We are destroying our country for nothing at all.”
It is estimated that electricity customers are paying an average £90 a year to subsidise wind farms and other forms of renewable energy under Government carbon-reduction targets.
The Duke’s comments echo those of his son, the Prince of Wales, who has refused to have any wind farms built on Duchy of Cornwall land.
Two-thirds of the UK’s 3,000-plus turbines are owned by foreign companies, which take an estimated £500m a year in subsidies.
Scandinavian Jens Rasmussen, chief executive of London-based Air Farmers Ltd, which is seeking to build 16 125-metre turbines at Middleton Burn, last night said he would not get involved in what had become a political argument.
“Policy is generally a political matter,” he said, “and I have no interest in commenting on that, or what the Duke of Edinburgh has said.
“We are a commercial organisation – we are not political.”