August 28, 2013

Tynedale: The destroyers of our forests

By DAVID COULTER | Hexham Courant | 28 August 2013 |

The very mention of windfarms sends a cold shiver down the back of those fervently in opposition to their existence.

Many complaints are made about the installation of the sky-high turbines, blighting beautiful countryside one of the most frequent ones.

Added to the list is the loud noise the blades make when in full flow, while some insist that windfarms are not a reliable energy source and can often be inefficient.

Bringing a new argument to the table is Hexham resident Mike Jackson who is concerned about the unnecessary demolition of productive forests to house wind turbines.

Mr Jackson has worked as a forester for more than half a century, and he is troubled to learn about the potential for further tree felling to accommodate the proposed Kielder windfarm.

He cites two examples north of the Border which saw acres of woodland wiped out.

Forests were replaced for the Clyde windfarm just off the M74 near Glasgow, while the same happened at Crystal Forest, south of Dunbar, where the area is now overrun with turbines.

Mr Jackson, of Broadway Gardens, says: “The erection of wind turbines inevitably results in the permanent destruction of forest crops over a wide area, sometimes up to 2,000 hectares or more per site.

“The reason given by the developers is that the turbine manufacturers do not like the turbulence caused by the tree canopy and refuse to give a warranty on the equipment unless all trees are felled.

“If you have travelled up the M74 recently you will have seen great swathes of land, formerly forest, now totally bare and I don’t see why this has to happen.”

Mr Jackson, an expert in all things trees, points out that cutting down forests for the placing of wind turbines is a waste of a free, energy source which is already in existence.

He said: “Everyone knows that trees lock up carbon, so it makes no sense to destroy a carbon sink and replace it with wind turbines.

“To put this in context, the average productive spruce forest locks up an average of three tonnes of carbon per hectare per year.

“So in the case of a 2,000 hectare forest, there will be a loss of approximately 120,000 tonnes of carbon ‘lock-up’ over the 20-year life of the turbines.”

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