There have been many applications for wind turbines of varying sizes in the Ashbourne area recently. Looming over them, in every sense, are the huge turbines overlooking Carsington Water, erected against the wishes of local councillors.
It has come as a relief to residents in the core of Carsington and Hopton that the mega-turbines are not generally visible there but, to everyone else, they have damaged the landscape enormously.
“But Carsington Water is man-made,” I have heard it said, “and so are these turbines.”
Well, the Mona Lisa is man-made but that does not mean drawing a moustache on it would be acceptable.
“I think they are beautiful,” I have even heard it said.
Some people think heavy metal music is beautiful but few would think it acceptable to inflict that “beauty” on everyone else by playing it in public at full volume.
That is the equivalent of what wind turbines do: they force themselves upon everyone in their vicinity, the eye drawn almost irresistibly to them because of their motion in otherwise still and peaceful landscapes.
Yes, the landscapes of the Derbyshire Dales have been worked on and shaped by man, but they have evolved over hundreds of years to the high pitch of beauty that they are in.
This is now threatened by the appearance of intrusive and alien forms.
Love for and a desire to protect that landscape is my primary motivation in opposing many of them.
For UK plc, the argument in favour relates to climate change and energy security. Nuclear energy and fracking offer cleaner and more realistic alternatives.
Major drawbacks include the intermittent nature of wind, which needs back-up from other energy supplies and the very high cost per unit of energy generated by wind turbines, supported by large taxpayer-funded subsidies (and higher energy bills).
There are places where people can site them, where the visual damage is not sufficient to merit opposition, but most that have come up have not passed that test.
Andrew Lewer is a Conservative district and county councillor for Ashbourne.
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