The rash of wind farms across Britain represents the triumph of environmental dogma over common sense.
Wrecking the countryside, reducing our energy security and driving up our household bills, these ugly structures are nothing more than monuments to political folly.
Now at last one senior member of the Tory-led coalition has been brave enough to speak out. In a newspaper interview, Energy Minister John Hayes challenged the idea that Britain needs to keep building more wind farms. “Enough is enough,” he said, adding that it was “extraordinary” how energy companies had been “allowed to pepper the landscape against local wishes”. He had commissioned research to look at the negative side of wind power, including property blight, health risks, noise pollution and damage to the countryside.
Predictably the Liberal Democrats reacted with outrage, since they have always been noisy evangelists for the wind rush. “There will be no change in Government policy,” claimed the Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who went on to demand that “the coalition lives up to the Prime Minister’s pledge to make it the greenest Government ever”. With imperious intolerance he has even banned Hayes from expressing any further views that depart from rigid green orthodoxy.
Yet Davey is on weak ground.
He is clinging to a strategy that is now falling apart because of its own failings and contradictions.
Public opposition to wind turbines is growing as their costly ineffectiveness becomes ever more apparent.
MOREOVER, many Tories are increasingly hostile to the environmental agenda. The Chancellor George Osborne, grappling with the fiscal deficit, is privately said to be appalled at the lavish subsidies paid to wind farm operators, while more than 100 Conservative backbenchers have signed a policy document demanding radical cuts in these payouts.
Davey and his fellow eco warriors should face up to the reality that their devotion to wind turbines has been disastrously misplaced. Compared to other forms of power generation, wind farms are woefully ineffective. Useless when the wind is not blowing, they need constant back-up from gas-fired stations. Indeed on average they provide just a quarter of the energy of their supposed capacity. Yet they are just as ineffectual when the wind blows fiercely, for then they have to be shut down because of the risk that they might overwhelm the grid.
Their inadequacy means that they cannot be built or operated without massive subsidies.
This year the cost of such financial support to wind farms reached more than £1billion, with the burden falling largely on household energy bills. It is no wonder that the costs of gas and electricity are soaring by an estimated 17 per cent.
But while huge numbers of consumers are being pushed into fuel poverty by the Government’s addiction to so-called “renewable” energy, others are doing extremely well, such as wealthy landowners who make a fortune in subsidies from the turbines on their properties. Not only has this form of energy proved woefully inefficient but its use has also despoiled our countryside.
“There is nothing more modern or impressive than these turbines,” proclaimed one Leftwing newspaper recently. But it is precisely that brutal modernism that is so inappropriate for our unique British landscape and coast. Nor has the increasing reliance on wind power done anything to reduce CO² emissions, since wind farms are so energy intensive to build and maintain, while they also require so much back-up.
More disturbingly, there is growing evidence that such turbines can seriously undermine the health of those forced to live near them, because of the constant low-frequency noise and vibrations. In fact there is now a new welldocumented condition called “wind-farm syndrome” the symptoms of which include insomnia, depression, fatigue and cardiovascular problems.
One of the myths promoted by the Government and green campaigners is that wind farms boost the economy by creating jobs but this is just more propaganda. For a start, the income from electricity generation is far exceeded by the public subsidies.
FURTHERMORE, most of the biggest companies involved in wind farms here are foreign. Of the top 10 operators, no fewer than eight are from overseas with the largest, DONG Energy of Denmark, pocketing almost £160million from the public purse.
The wind policy is an insult to our intelligence and a raid on our wallets. We should be dismantling turbines instead of building more, for we are one of the more energy rich countries in the world, with huge reserves of gas, oil, hydro-power and coal, as well as new resources such as shale gas.
Yet our energy independence is being destroyed by the hot air merchants of the green movement and their allies such as Ed Davey.
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