Matt Baker, the presenter of BBC’s Countryfile, is the latest high profile figure to question the effectiveness of wind farms and ask if they are a threat to the beauty of the British countryside.
The son of a Durham farmer, former Blue Peter presenter and frontman for Crufts and One Man and his Dog has always made clear his passion for the countryside and animals.
Even as a runner up on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, he missed his first love back home running his sheepdog in the Dales.
However he fears for the future of the landscape, that he got to know recently cycling a rickshaw from Edinburgh to London for Children in Need.
Asked what the greatest threat is to the countryside by The Radio Times, he highlighted wind farms.
“I think there’s an enormous number of wind turbines. They are right next to the farm in Durham and they’re 90m high. I’m not sure how effective they are as they never seem to be actually working.”
There are more 3,500 turbines in Britain and almost 800 more will be completed this year alone. The industry hope to have as many as 10,000 onshore and 4,300 offshore by 2020.
Simon Jenkins, the Chairman of the National Trust, has spoken out against the aesthetic impact on the countryside.
He is also concerned about the effciency of wind farms, that do not work when the wind blows.
However other high profile figures like David Attenborough, another BBC presenter, have praised turbines as “elegant structures in harmony with nature”.
He pointed out all electricity needs backing up and it would be foolish not to take advantage of such an abundant source of energy around the British Isles when it is so important to cut carbon.
Mr Baker, who lives with his wife and children in Buckinghamshire, was also concerned about the lack of jobs and loss of services in the countryside that is killing village life.
“Where I grew up, on a farm in Durham, you worked on the farm. I should have been a farmer like my father but that’s not what happens now. We all live in the countryside as a lifestyle choice, not because we work there. Villages are empty and I think that’s sad. But I do think there will be a resurgence in agriculture in this country so that might change,” he said.
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