The Devon branch of the countryside charity (Devon CPRE) has criticised the Government’s new energy strategy, saying Boris Johnson’s emphasis on ‘renewables’ will not deliver an affordable, clean and secure supply of electricity as people are being led to believe. Instead, Devon CPRE believes enhanced carbon capture from regenerative agriculture, the only proven method for carbon capture and storage, is a critical factor in the equation and the charity is disappointed that it’s not been mentioned in the strategy unveiled yesterday. Experts estimate this could sequester our excess carbon emissions within 15-20 years.
The charity’s energy spokesman, Dr Phillip Bratby says: “Producing food and capturing carbon is what Devon’s farmland can do and should be doing to help meet our carbon targets – not slowly degrading under hundreds of decaying wind turbines and hundreds of thousands of toxic solar panels, not to mention the huge explosive batteries they need to be even remotely effective.”
The Government claims its energy plans will reduce electricity bills, make the UK more self-sufficient and less reliant on imports. Devon CPRE says the Ukraine crisis has highlighted the UK’s foolishness in relying so heavily on imports from Russia, and the new strategy will perpetuate our dependence on global supply chains and superpowers. China manufactures most of the world’s supply of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries and controls most of the exotic materials needed to make them.
Dr Bratby continues: “The public is being hoodwinked into thinking that onshore wind farms are one of the fastest and greenest ways to get so-called ‘free’ power. Neither wind farms, nor solar farms provide this – they provide very expensive power – and the more we build, the more the price of our electricity will go up. Devon CPRE fought the construction of wind turbines for over ten years and we know rural communities don’t want them. We also don’t want more of these huge solar developments that are gobbling up our farmland.
“The government’s proposed energy security strategy appears to have been dreamt up by Whitehall civil servants who have little knowledge of engineering or of life in the real world outside their Westminster bubble. We are not against solar panels in the right locations, such as on roofs, provided they are not Chinese-made, using slave labour. We welcome the proposals not to change current planning regulations for onshore wind. However, apart from this, the strategy is a complete failure. It will not deliver its stated aims, namely, an affordable, clean and secure supply of energy. Very importantly, for a strategy which involves massive expenditure of taxpayers’ money, there has been no risk assessment of what is proposed.”
Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills added: “It’s not just the Government who are failing to grasp what’s needed. It’s difficult to get the message across to politicians of all persuasions. Opposition parties are scrambling around trying to think of something to say and are spouting forth about increasing onshore wind turbines and insulation. Across the country, tens of thousands of new homes are being built to maximise profit for the developers. If the housebuilders reduced their profit by constructing to a higher specification, including decent energy efficiency, it would have benefits all round.”
Devon CPRE says it’s time the Government introduced a sensible, pragmatic and strategic energy policy, one that prioritises the use of farmland for growing food.
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