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Patrick Smith, Stonewall Hill Conservation Group, Presteigne, on development of Reeves Hill Windfarm

Stonewall Hill Conservation Group’s legal challenge to Herefordshire Council ’s decision to proceed with the development of Reeves Hill Windfarm continues.

Our written application for judicial review was not accepted (as is often the case). On our solicitors’ advice we are going forward to the next stage – an oral hearing to decide if the application is accepted. Our fight on behalf of the vast majority of constituents on both sides of the border will continue whatever the outcome of this hearing.

The fight is not futile but is a fight for democracy against greed and convenience. I wonder how the population of other villages in Herefordshire would feel if they were not consulted about such an industrial development near them, especially if they live in a beautiful area that relied on tourism?

Let’s be absolutely clear: wind farms are not green and do not cut emissions – this is one of the most important messages we need to get across on wind power.

The industry, of course, simply looks at the output from a turbine, calculates what emissions would be involved generating the same output from gas or coal, and claims that as the emissions They totally ignore the conventional backup, usually gas, which wind power absolutely requires to manage intermittency.

Because the conventional backup is held on spinning reserve for instant access when the wind drops, and because the back-up itself runs intermittently to complement the vagaries of wind, it is run very inefficiently and the capital cost of wind plus back-up is up to 10 times the cost of gas alone.

Inefficient running means that the overall system emissions savings, wind plus gas, are somewhere between not-verymuch and zero. The primary driver behind the development of wind power and Brussels’ Renewables Directive is the obsession with reducing emissions. Yet wind fails in its primary purpose. It is all cost and little benefit. It is sheer green posturing and gesture politics, which is undermining British economic competitiveness.

While billions of pounds is wasted and countryside damaged, the alternative solutions are being drained of investment. As for the idea that corporate money from the big energy suppliers can be used to create community energy schemes is naive and ill informed.

When the energy suppliers lose their subsidy for wind farms they will disappear overnight leaving the tax paper, who funded the subsidies, to pay the cost of repair for the environmental damage they have caused.

PATRICK SMITH, Stonewall Hill Conservation Group, Mouse Manor, Offas Green, Norton, Presteigne.