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Protesters unite in wind farms pressure group  

Credit:  Chloe Hubbard, North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk 23 February 2012 ~~

People opposed to wind turbines agreed to form a united North Devon pressure group at a fiery meeting held at Lovacott Village Hall on Friday night.

More than 50 people attended the meeting entitled Wind Turbines and You.

North Devon MP Nick Harvey was invited to take questions, which mainly centred around the Fullabrook Wind Farm and the rising number of farmers installing private turbines on their land.

Mr Harvey was asked questions from the floor for more than two and a half hours. The questions ranged from quizzing him on government policy on turbines, to his own feelings on the subject.

He repeatedly made it clear he was personally opposed to wind turbines and wind farms.

He said he had fought against the Fullabrook Wind Farm, alongside North Devon Council.

He believed government money would be better spent on developing tidal energy products, because they are potentially more efficient.

The MP urged the angry crowd to accept that fossil fuels are running out, and asked them to think about what they would do when the lights go out.

Many people at the meeting said they were not convinced the Government was doing enough to stop the increasing number of turbines popping up in North Devon.

Some argued because farmers are putting up one or two turbines at a time, people living in the countryside are being quietly overrun and are finding themselves among wind farms by default.

Many people clamoured for Mr Harvey to be more proactive in pressuring the Government to change its policy, with regards to financially subsidising turbines to meet the UK’s renewable energy targets.

Others called for a change in the law to implement a legal distance a turbine has to be from a dwelling.

Nick Harvey said: “Personally I am not an advocate of wind farms. They only supply you with an intermittent supply of power and you have to back them up with other things. I’ve been a vigorous opponent of wind farms over the years.”

Several people said they believed the Coalition Government is being forced to carry on subsidising turbines, because the Lib Dems want to carry on funding them to meet green targets.

But Mr Harvey denied this: “I am not aware of any attempt by the Conservatives to change the policies on turbine subsidies and I just don’t accept it’s a Lib Dem baby.

“We haven’t got our way with the student fees or a lot else, so it’s an absolute distortion to say we are holding the Tories to ransom with this.”

Nick Williams, who lives in the shadow of one of the Fullabrook turbines and has complained at the noise they make, made an emotional plea to the MP to “stop the onslaught of the countryside.”

In an emotional and tearful speech he said: “I’m a prisoner of Fullabrook. You’ve done nothing to help me. You could stop that turbine tomorrow if you wanted to. You don’t care about us, this is all about money.”

Mr Williams went on to detail the flaws in the sound testing of Fullabrook which was due to start on Monday, saying it’s not testing the sound at the right frequency.

He also said the month’s worth of testing is not enough to get the full picture.

He added: “But by the time you do anything I’ll be hooked on Prozac. Thank you very much.”

Paul Rogerson, also referring to Fullabrook, said: “It’s only capable of producing overall, in an extremely optimistic scenario, about a third of the advertised amount it is supposed to on paper. It is a mistake to proliferate the countryside with these turbines. Yes, offshore is better, but as a technology it’s intermittent in an unpredictable way.”

Another woman said: “If we have to have turbines why do they have to be built so close to these poor people’s houses?

“Your government is subjecting them to such misery.

“In the case of the Fullabrook Wind Farm, which has cost the taxpayer millions, one of them is going to end up having to be turned off so poor Nick Williams doesn’t go completely mad.

“The Fullabrook estate is unsaleable. It’s evil to have done this to people, it’s all government pseudo nonsense.”

Another man said: “The countryside is getting covered in mini-wind farms by default. They are turning this area into a giant wind farm by default.”

Rodney Cann, who is deputy leader of North Devon Council, said the council fought tooth and nail to stop Fullabrook but the secretary of state decided to push the project through at appeal.

He said he fears the same thing will happen with the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind farm, and urged Nick Harvey to take a stand against it.

He said: “North Devon is a sacrificial cow for the government’s green energy targets. Nick you’ve got to come off the fence on this one and fight for North Devon.”

Another woman revealed a friend of hers who had recently died, felt so strongly about the turbine’s increasing popularity, she left money to fight against them in her will.

Phil Pennington, from Torridge District Council said: “The worst thing about all of this is the destruction of the communities we live in.

“The problem of it all is there are such strong winners and such sorry losers and the ministers have no inclination of what they are doing to our communities.”

At the end of the meeting several people from across North Devon agreed to form a united pressure group to campaign against turbines.

Source:  Chloe Hubbard, North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk 23 February 2012

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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