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Professor disputes use of ‘spinning windmills’

One of country’s leading environmentalists, who is based in North Devon, has described wind turbines as “monuments of a failed civilisation”.

Professor James Lovelock has written a letter of objection to Torridge District Council against a planning application for an 84-metre wind turbine at Witherdon Wood, Broadwoodwidger.

The professor, who is now in his 90s, has become known in recent years for controversially being an advocate of nuclear power and a staunch opponent of wind energy.

In his letter he says: “We need to take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”

Professor Lovelock invented the Gaia theory, which explains the Earth as a self-regulating entity that ensures the surface environment is always fit for life.

In his letter he states: “I am an environmentalist and founder member of the Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood.

“We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs.”

Ricky Knight, a spokesman for the North Devon branch of the Green Party, has defended the party’s role in promoting wind energy.

Mr Knight said: “Professor Lovelock remains one of the most respected ecologists of our time. It would be preposterous for grass-roots activists to query his assertions, when they are clearly motivated by his concern for the survival of the planet. However, it is defensible to query his focus.

“To isolate wind turbines as the scourge of our man-made landscape and to suggest that it is the antithesis of all that Lovelock believes in is certainly specious. The 1,000 year-old statues on Easter Island are still standing.”