Renowned Cornish explorer and author Robin Hanbury-Tenison claims he was left with no option but to resign from a post he has held for 40 years because of opposition to his vocal support for renewable energy.
Mr Hanbury-Tenison OBE, who farms 2,000 acres on Bodmin Moor, stepped down as president of Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society following the publication of a letter in which he calls for all farmers to consider installing an “appropriately placed” a wind turbine.
At a meeting of the society, outraged fellow members were so opposed to his views that he said he had no option but to offer his resignation.
Mr Hanbury-Tenison, who has been described as “the greatest living explorer” and is founder and president of Survival International, wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “I have a well-placed 15kWh wind turbine, to which no one objected and which I regard as a thing of beauty.
“With the 50kwh generated by my modest array of solar panels, I generate enough electricity for 33 average households, which is fed into the grid. I also drive a fully electric car. If every farmer with a suitable site did the same, we could approach electrical independence without any capital investment from the Government. The countryside would look much as it did in the Middle Ages, when every village had a windmill.”
Mr Hanbury-Tenison, who lives at Cabilla Manor at Cardinham, said he had quit the presidency with “regret and sadness”.
“While I believe that wind turbines and PV arrays which create inappropriate intrusions in the landscape should be strongly opposed, I also believe that we need to generate more clean renewable energy in order to wean ourselves from fossil fuels,” he said.
“I recognise that this puts me out of step with a majority of current members of the society, but I believe they are wrong. A blind opposition to all forms of renewable energy and denial of climate change is a dangerous path to follow.”
However, his unequivocal championing of renewal energy won him few friends among members of the group he helped found in the 1970s.
Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society chairman Richard Vyvyan-Robinson told members: “The society does not have a ‘blind opposition to all forms of renewable energy’, is not unenlightened, and does not believe that change is always a bad thing.
“But Robin’s Daily Telegraph letter is clearly at odds with the objectives of the society and, whilst some of our members will hold differing points of view, a president who broadcasts such opinions makes the work of objecting to inappropriate developments all the more difficult.
“Recommending that every farmer should have one was a suggestion too far.”
Mr Vyvyan-Robinson, who praised the outgoing president for his many years of “invaluable” service, said a new incumbent would be chosen through a ballot of members at the next AGM.
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