Turbine controversy

Tuesday 24th June 2014 10:00 pm
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WIND turbines certainly are controversial. The latest structures are huge. They may not be beautiful but there is a degree of elegance. The designers and engineers have  brilliantly created a machine to harness the wind to make electricity. However, single turbines and windfarms bring an industrial intrusion into some of our finest landscapes. Not only that but these turbines also intrude on that soul healing experience which so many of us enjoy in getting away from an urban area. The countryside views nourish  those that live in the country and those who visit. If we are not careful, there will not be a single view in the area which does not have a turbine. There are over four thousand turbines in the UK — apparently we need many thousands more but the best place must surely be out at sea. Colin Jarvis Northlew Okehampton ON Saturday, June 14 I travelled from Okehampton to Hatherleigh. My wife drew my attention to the blimp flying at the height of the proposed wind power unit for Jacobstowe. It was barely noticeable along this route. I actually stopped at Basset's Cross but could see no trace of it from there. The blimp has had the effect of proving how little visible impact the proposed unit would have. I look forward to the scheme being given the go-ahead. S Moore Okehampton I refer to S W Moore's letter of June 6. The following points are inclusive of, but not exhaustive of, the downside of wind turbines: 1. Many of your readers believe that these windmills supply power to the houses of Devon and Cornwall. This is simply not true – the power will go into the National Grid and electricity travels at over 100,000 miles per second to distant cities. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change the 'renewable' power is produced only 24% of the time – so no conventional power source will be replaced. These devices — wind or solar powered — are simply a means of harvesting subsidies; the landowners and developers will get richer, those who live nearby will get poorer as their house values tumble. Wind turbines can knock as much as 12% off the values of homes within a 2km radius and reduce property prices as far as 14 km away according to research by the London School of Economics. To add salt to the wounds, in winds of over 56mph the Government pay 'constraint payments' to switch off the turbines. A recent article from The Times (April 4) reported that energy companies were paid a record £8.7m during the month of March to switch off. 2. In a Westminster Hall debate (March 12) Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, stated: 'It is interesting to note that Hinkley Point in Somerset will take up some 165 acres and will produce 7% of the UK's energy needs. To achieve the same energy output, 6,000 wind turbines would need to be built on 250,000 acres of land. That is the difference and that is what we are up against.' 3. Tourism is vital to our local economy. Our unspoilt rural landscape is our most valuable asset as this is what tourists come to enjoy. Tourism based businesses who market themselves on a 'get away from it all' unspoilt area, peace and quiet, rural scenery etc will soon be negatively impacted by the installation of this industrial feature on our landscape. According to Visit Devon the tourist industry is valued at about £2bn a year. There will be a huge cumulative impact on that business if we continue to despoil our landscape with wind turbines. 4. The only winners financially are the landowner and the energy companies. The developers have not demonstrated how local jobs could be created. On the contrary, according to the lead article in The Times, April 3, the vast majority of turbines are manufactured in Denmark, Germany or the United States. This would imply that we in West Devon are subsidising the economies of these rich countries. Other potential well-documented associated problems include health hazards, impact on wildlife and adverse reactions by horses etc. It is widely accepted that the proliferation of unsightly wind turbines is nothing short of vandalism of our beautiful Devon countryside or, to quote the chairman of the National Trust, wind turbines are 'a public menace'. J Egan Jacobstowe

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