The new boss of the National Trust has angered anti-wind campaigners in Northumberland by describing turbines as “beautiful”.
Dame Helen Ghosh, the trust’s recently appointed chief executive, has claimed the turbines can look “graceful” and likened their arrival in society to that of railways and canals in centuries past.
Her comments have brought an angry reaction from two men who fight development of wind farms in Northumberland – with both saying they have cancelled their membership of the trust as a result.
One claimed her words fly in the face of the organisation’s role to “protect views” and “make appropriate use of land.”
Dame Helen is reported to have said: “Personally, I think a wind turbine in the right place is a rather beautiful thing.
“I think they can look graceful, and this goes back to thinking in centuries.
“If you think back to what the railways looked like to the 19th Century mind, or indeed the 18th Century when the canals were coming through, I think we have to have our minds open to how the wind turbine will appear to us in 100 years.”
Last night, her comments angered Northumberland anti-wind campaigners Andrew Joicey and John Thompson, both of whom said they had cancelled their membership of the trust after hearing of them.
Mr Joicey, who has fought a number of wind farm developments in the North of the county and launched a successful judicial review following the granting of permission for three single turbines, felt “hundreds of others” would have taken similar action.
He said: “I invite her to go just North of the border to the Lammermuirs and look and see what a landscape looks like which is covered in just over 130 turbines and the potential in a year or two for just over 1,000 turbines to be built.
“There is absolutely nothing beautiful about that.
“It is certainly a silly statement for her to make.
“I am afraid it suggests she does not really understand the problems.
“Of course, people are entitled to find any structure beautiful or not as they wish but her comments fly in the face of the opinions of thousands of people both rural and urban.
“I think it is very damaging.”
Mr Thompson, chairman of an action group fighting a number of wind schemes in the Wingates area, added: “It is a bit disappointing to say the least.
“The railways are still in place 150 to 200 years later, these things are going to be coming down in 20 years.
“I can not understand where she is coming from.
“The National Trust, they should be there to protect views to and from National Trust properties, make appropriate use of land and apart from saying she thinks they are beautiful I can not say she has given any justification for that.
“I do not think she is going to endear herself.”
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