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Are wind farms an eyesore or do they blow you away?

Plans are afoot to build another wind farm on Thornton Moor – old home of the Brontë sisters. Opinion is divided: although some are in favour of wind farms, others think they will damage the landscape and impact on tourism.

Personally, I am all in favour of wind turbines as I think they are really important.

The UK has 40% of Europe’s entire wind resource and plenty of coastlines for offshore wind, so we should make the most of it.

It’s easy to be against wind farms unless you have considered all the alternative options.

We need new power

Yes, wind turbines are visible in our landscape and we need quite a few of them to produce the same amount of energy as a traditional power plant, but what if we don’t build any? We would have to keep relying on imported energy as well as building new power stations.

Of course, we can upgrade existing power plants but we are likely to need new ones too, and nuclear power plants are seen as a low carbon alternative. How would people react if the go-ahead was given for a nuclear power plant near their home?

With its great wind capacity, the UK already has 339 wind farms in operation, generating over 6,000 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power more than 3.6 million homes. And there are a further 50 wind farms under construction and 272 other projects that have been given the go-ahead.

Wind farms – an eyesore?

But some people don’t like wind farms. They object by saying that they’re an eyesore, can impact on tourism, are noisy and can kill birds. But for me, when I see a wind turbine, I don’t see ugliness – I think of clean technology, innovation, modernism and sustainability.

I also find wind farms reassuring, because I know this is electricity we are producing here in the UK, simply from the power of wind. The energy we produce doesn’t depend on anyone else, on importing any gas or coal and it should provide us with energy security and shield us from rising oil prices in the future.

And while it might cost us all a bit more on our energy bills now, I believe it’s important to take a long-sighted view and see the benefits for the future, especially if oil prices keep rising as they have in the last few years.

Do you think we should be planning more wind farms in the UK? Or should we look to other forms of energy to see us through to the future?

Do you like wind farms?

No - I think they're awful (48%, 487 Votes)

Yes - I think they're a great idea (40%, 399 Votes)

I kind of like them, but not in my back yard (9%, 90 Votes)

I'm not sure yet (3%, 32 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,009

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Comments
Guest

I’m still here as well, the only thing that has changed is that the wind farm development in my area is almost complete (9×410 ft turbines) which has been built next to a petrochemical plant.

Here is an image showing what our community will have to live with for the next 25 years:

Research has identified that the turbine wake will interact with the pollutants dispersed by the Mossmorran petrochemical plant, and disperse the pollutants in higher concentrations in the local area.

One of the pollutants dispersed is benzene which causes cancer and other very bad health impacts. The local authority attached a condition to the planning application that if pollutants increased in the local area the wind farm would have to cease operations, the developer appealed this condition.

They are monitoring pollutants using passive diffusion tubes but SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) has already stated that the testing is inadequate and will not show the subtle changes of hydrocarbons being dispersed in higher concentrations in the local area.

Wind Farms have a range of known negative impacts, and petrochemical plants also have a range of known negative impacts. What is not known is how both of these developments will impact on the local area.

What if a turbine blade breaks and strikes the NGL (Natural Gas Liquid) pipelines or the plant itself? What if Ice Throw does the same? What if a turbine fire happens and spreads to the pipeline or plant? What if pollutants are increased in the local area?

The developer does not care, and will not address any of the issues, neither will the plant operators, local councillors, local authority, or Scottish Government.

I can only hope that issues that are common with other industrial wind farm development, do not happen in my local area, as it may be the end of our community, literally, as we are wiped of the map.

Guest

badger you say “I believe that most if not all politicians are self serving and not altruistic”. I also think that there are very few technically or scientifically qualified members among them. On top of this, they are informed and advised by partizan researchers who are dependent on grants for their continued activity. However, there might be some hope in the recent formation of an All Party Parliamentary Committee on Thorium. Tim Yeo is a member but wouldn’t it be nice if the energy minister was one also. They list the Weinberg Foundation as their source of references.

The Chair of the Weinberg Foundationis is Lady Worthington (labour). They have a wonderful collection of references to LFTR and molten salt cooled reactors (MSR). Alvin Weinberg was a Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was an inventor of the existing pressurised water reactors (PWRs) but didnt like the safety aspects – so he invented and built a thorium reactor that uses a liquid fuel. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to build a bomb from a thorium reactor’s by-products – so Nixon and his cohorts sacked him and scrapped his MSR.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Well researched lobro, well researched.

You’re not a retired Academic are you?……You are remarkably up to date with your info!

Regards,

Finsburyparker.

Guest

I agree completely with your first paragraph and I’m not at all surprised by the last phrase in the second. We desperately need some non profit input at a very high level but I just can’t see it happening. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Tim Yeo have some vested interests connected to the green lobby?

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

You are right there Badger!
Tim Yeo – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2187948/Conservative-MP-chairs-climate-committee-earns-140k-green-energy-firms.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Of course, he objected to a wind farm in his own backyard and keeps banging on about more
community benefits for people that host them ie bribes.

Nice to know our government is full of non-biased folk, not!

Guest

Charles Hendry was popular with the renwables lobby but John Hayes is seen as a threat by them. I think his declared standpoint is far more pragmatic.

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
28 September 2012

Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please object to the Government at

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958″ and following the link.

Please note that the main purpose of the petition is to get a meaningful debate in Parliament on this matter. Parliament is able to call on all the necessary experts to make it a worthwhile discussion and to reach the right conclusions. At the moment most of our MPs are burying their heads in the sand and do not seem to have the ability to convince the British public that wind power, with all its associated problems, is part of the answer to our energy problems.

Guest

I wonder do people realise what is hapening in Wales.
I would think those for or against turbines would at least agree that a landscape assessment should be done before a large project with turbines close to 500 feet high is to be implemented.

In Wales we have a quite dictatorial policy (TAN8 it is known as )of concentrating turbines in large projects in particular parts of the Welsh uplands. None of the areas selected for large scale development have had any landscape assessment WHATSOEVER. The international consultants involved were specifically forbidden from considering landscape in these areas.

As a result we are faced with a large turbine project underneath the iconci Pumlumon range, which is classed as of ‘outstanding landscape quality’ by CCW, the Welsh Governments’s landscape advisers, and yet no landscape assessment has been done before it has been approved as a development area by the Welsh Government. Ten years ago no one would have dreamed of putting turbines on such a valued landscape and historic landscape area.

Guest

Jazz, you stated that “Wind Farms have a range of known negative impacts,”. Here’s another one a Met man told me the other day. Downwind the turbulent air stirs the boundary layer above the soil. This effect reduces the thermal isolation of the soil and its energy loss. The change is small but the natural environment is changed. It is reported that eventually there is a discernable change in the downwind flora and fauna.

I sympathise with your situation and I don’t want to depress you but in 1841, Charles MacKay, in his Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds repeated a quote that “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” This is as true now as it was then. (Sorry if I’m sounding a bit Boris-like).

Guest

Thanks for the additional info lobro, I hadn’t heard of that impact before, certainly worth investigating further.

The quote you provided is quite apt, even with the turbines being built (5 out of 9 completed) people are still saying they are looking forward to getting free electricity in the local area and are refusing to look at the wider issues.

Time will tell the truth about industrial wind turbines, but in the meantime, our local community has been destroyed, and many other communities will be destroyed before the madness stops.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

Jaz
What a nightmare! The wind farm proposed for us would be next to an industrial estate storing toxic chemicals, a timber yard and a firework factory! Complete madness if you ask me but the locals get to voice their concerns and then are ignored. Local authorities are incapable of looking at the “bigger picture” and then just say anyway “accidents will happen”. You would think health and safety would be appallied but they aren’t. Joy of joys.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

Jaz, Is that what people have been told? They will get free electricity? Was anything given in writing? I read recently somewhere about this about “free electricity” next to a nuclear power station and it just never happened. What about the competition laws? Who gets free electricity and who doesn’t? People don’t look beyond the end of their noses. I am sorry to hear about your predicament and agree, this is tearing local communities apart.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Hello hummingbird99!

I seem to recall back in the days of Cinema and ‘Movitone’/’Pathe’ news that Nuclear Power would be so cheap it would not be worth metering!

Just goes to show, you can fool all of the people a second time around!

Guest

Sorry Finsbury but I was among those working on fusion research in the late 50’s. Zeta produced some neutrons and the media descended. Someone said “Nuclear Power would be so cheap it would not be worth metering!” and that was it. The next year I was among those that showed that those neutrons did not have a thermonuclear origin! Nevertheless, someday it will be true – and I believe that thorium reactors will come pretty near to the fusion promise – but that is just a feeling and not a fact.

I am sure that we will have break-even fusion demonstrated from either magnetic confinement (ITER) or inertial confinement (laser shock) within the next 10 years, but which ever one wins will lead to enormous reactors when only a few of them will supply the whole country. I think that the small modular thorium reactor will be the result of market demand over the next 50 years but it will need a prototype to be demonstrated first – and the US has shot itself in the foot when it comes to thoriun resources. That is why China and India are likely to get there first. India is sitting on mountains of thorium.

By the way, it is rumoured that the current level of introduction of uranium fuelled reactors will result in uranium shortages in 100 years time whereas thorium, it has been claimed, could last for over 80,000 years. That should give us enough time to solve the compact fusion reactor problem!

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
29 September 2012

Hi Lobro!

Yes,….It was about the 50s I recall seeing the ‘Movietone’ bit on ‘So cheap etc, etc!

No need to say sorry Lobro, you aren’t responsible for what the ‘Meedja’ comes up with!

Correct me if I’m wrong Lobro, But, I did read somewhere that India had a prototype Thorium Reactor up and running,….But, I don’t believe everything I read, and even less what the ‘Politico’s’ spout!

Best regards Lobro,

KEN.

Guest

We’ve published a new Conversation called ‘What happens if the lights go out?’

Britain’s energy regulator issued the first of its annual Electricity Capacity Assessments. Its conclusions could have wide-ranging impacts on energy prices and has provoked rumours of potential black outs in 2015.

Join the debate here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/blackout-lights-out-power-shortage-power-plant-closure/

Guest

Another update for you all – we’ve published a Conversation called ‘Got a wind farm nearby? Could you save on your energy bills?’.

Juliet Daveport, CEO of renewable energy supplier Good Energy, has written about their scheme to reward customers who live close to their wind farm in Cornwall. Would you back local wind farms if they gave you discount on your energy bills?

You can join the new debate here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/got-a-wind-farm-nearby-you-could-save-on-your-energy-bills/

Guest
Bobh says:
24 October 2013

Any comparison with fossil fuels seems to me to be used as a justification for wind farms. We know that fossil fuels will be gone at some point so why even mention them? A more meaningful discussion is wind farms v nuclear.
Living near a nuclear power plant, not a problem for me. I would make no sense building one in the centre of a town, in the same way that a (say) chemical plant shouldn’t be built in the centre of a town. But for all those people lauding wind power as the answer to our energy needs, would you rather have an operation in a hospital powered by wind turbines, or a nuclear power plant?

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
24 October 2013

Hello Bobh!

I may have posted this before.

EASTER ISLANDS REVISITED.

In years to come, when all that is left of the Wind Turbines will be a few rusted stumps, like rotten teeth protruding from the earth as a testimony to man’s folly, exactly like the Easter Island Monoliths, mankind will ponder the reason for their mystical existence.
Guided tours will be arranged, and money extracted from gullible tourists.

Academics will write various essays & books on them, a latter day Eric Von Daniken will tell them that they are remnants of a visit by Extra Terrestrial beings, Archaeologists of the day will explain them away as remains of a once super race like the ones who inhabited that fabled Island Atlantis.

But the real truth will be, we are/were just as stupid as the Easter Islanders!

Best Regards,

FINSBURYPARKER.

Guest

I think you’ll find that a plebiscite would result in abandoning wind farms and possibly even green energy. It’s our our politicians who’ve got their heads up their jacksies and are ruining our country, not the proletariat.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 October 2013

Hello Badger!

Firstly, when I used the word ‘We’ in my above post, its obvious that it referred to the Powers that be.

The ‘Proletariat’, a euphemism term you used, have no say in the matter (A word that has connotations of a bygone era of the USSR and the writings of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin/Marx etc.)!

Best regards,

FINSBURYPARKER.

Guest

Yup even Russia is now in the hands of the monied few!