Contents

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PEAK PROTECTION FORCE / SOUTH PENNINE PROTECTION FORCE SUCCESSES:

2017 – PINES BURN WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2017 – SCOUT MOOR EXPANSION REFUSED AT NATIONAL LEVEL

2015 – ROOLEY MOOR WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2015 – UK GOVERNMENT ELECTED ON POLICY OF REMOVING SUPPORT FOR ONSHORE WIND FARMS

2014 – GORPLEY WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

BLOG CONTENTS:

Firearms & Explosives vs Unwanted Wind Blight

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/firearms-explosives-vs-unwanted-wind-blight/

Robin Brooks’ Big Mistake: Carsington Pastures Wind Farm

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/robin-brooks-big-mistake-carsington-pastures-wind-farm/

Aesthetics For Dummies: The Majesty Of Wind Turbines Debunked

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/aesthetics-for-dummies-the-majesty-of-wind-turbines-debunked/

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly In Scotland

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-in-scotland/

Exploring The Ethics Of Defending The Moors With Force

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/exploring-the-ethics-of-defending-the-moors-with-force/

Turbine Blight Between Leeds & Liverpool

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/turbine-blight-between-leeds-liverpool/

Wind Energy Is Worse For The Environment Than Fracking

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/wind-energy-is-worse-for-the-environment-than-fracking/

Dialectic In Action (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/dialectic-in-action-part-2/

Dialectic In Action

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/dialectic-in-action/

Christmas Peace & Goodwill

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/christmas-peace-goodwill/

The Importance Of Hearing Opposing Opinions

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/another-awkward-question-answered/

Kirklees & Craven Councils: Sh*tting On Their Own Doorsteps!

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/2966/

The Guardian: Sinister Propaganda & Fake News

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/the-guardian-fake-news-sinister-propaganda/

The Future Leader Of The Green Party

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/the-future-leader-of-the-green-party/

A Practical Solution: The Turbine Traffic Light Scheme

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/a-practical-solution-the-turbine-traffic-light-scheme/

I Was Born On A Marilyn

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/i-was-born-on-a-marilyn/

The SNP: Making English Eco-Vandals Look Like Amateurs

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-snp-making-english-eco-vandals-look-like-amateurs/

Leeds To Scotland & Back Again

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/leeds-to-scotland-back-again/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/doing-wind-badly-part-2/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 1)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/doing-wind-badly-part-1/

Doing Wind Well

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/doing-wind-well/

10:10 Climate Action EXPOSED

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/1010-climate-action-exposed/

Sustainable Development?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/sustainable-development/

Worldwide Wind Scams – Daily Update

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/worldwide-wind-scams-daily-update

Toxic Turbines Around The Dark Peak

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/toxic-turbines-around-the-dark-peak

Bananas vs Watermelons: Internal vs External Loci of Control

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/bananas-vs-watermelons-internal-vs-external-loci-of-control/

Awkward Questions Answered

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/awkward-questions-answered/

More Worldwide Wind Misery

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/more-worldwide-wind-misery/

Royd Moor, Spicer Hill & Hazelhead

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/royd-moor-spicer-hill-hazelhead/

Scammers, Malware & Trojan Horses

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/scammers-malware-trojan-horses/

Wind Blight @ Park Mill Lane, Ossett

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/turbine-blight-between-leeds-mansfield/

Turbine Torture Around The World

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/wind-torture-around-the-world/

Wind Blight @ Harper Farm, New Farnley

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/wind-turbine-harper-farm-new-farnley/

Hegelian Dialectic & My Local Wind Turbine

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/hegelian-dialectic-my-local-wind-turbine/

Welcome To MindWind

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/welcome-to-windblog/

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Firearms & Explosives vs Unwanted Wind Blight

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DISCLAIMER: Please check the specific laws regarding the use of firearms and explosives in your community before engaging in any acts of enforced turbine removal. This blog does not advocate any illegal activity whatsoever, so if in doubt: check with your local police force before taking any direct action.

The following are examples of communities across the world using weaponry to express their displeasure about turbine blight.

Let’s start with Northern Ireland: “Remove all your equipment or it will be burnt to the ground”, workers at a wind farm construction site were warned. “We are serious. We are very good at this. We do a good job.”

http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/14440785.Crane_hire_company_forced_to_leave_wind_farm_once_owned_by_Quinn_Group/

In an industry based on lies, deception and wolves in sheep’s clothing, it’s quite rare to come across such honest, plain-speaking as uttered by the masked gunmen who turned up onsite and hit the developers with some words of pure truth: “Final warning: stay away form the wind farm or face the bullet….”

Like them or hate them, these words are at least 100% HONEST. That honesty in itself is a welcome addition to the discourse about wind power. It tells us the truth about what people really think about wind power.

Imagine working in an industry that makes people so angry, they want to shoot you dead and bomb your machinery until it’s destroyed.

Meanwhile, in Canada, a country normally thought to be gentle, easy-going and ultra-liberal:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/piikani-wind-turbine-weather-dancer-shot-rifle-1.4188683

And: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/wind-turbine-shooting-fort-macleod-1.3974801

America is a place where gun-related incidents are more commonplace. Maybe we should repurpose wind farms as giant shooting ranges where people can safely let off steam without fear of killing anyone innocent! https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/people-shooting-at-wind-turbines-in-michigan-elsewhere.html

Another account of the Michigan shootings: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2010/12/15/are-gun-toting-climate-skeptics-taking-pot-shots-at-wind-turbines/#.WwlbZTQvy1s

In Montana: http://www.ktvq.com/story/36029565/energy-company-offers-outreach-after-shooting-of-montana-wind-turbines

Let’s now travel to Australia, where there have been more wind farm shootings: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/someone-keeps-shooting-at-a-well-known-victorian-wind-farm-2017-9

https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4951059/could-result-in-death-shots-fired-at-waubra-wind-turbines/

Can’t stand the heat? Then get out the kitchen!

Nobody has thus far shot or detonated any wind farms in the United Kingdom, but turbine owners have often been called out on their greed and selfishness by justifiably angry neighbours: “No wind turbines here. The nights are drawing in and we are going to get you back.”

https://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/we-going-terrorise-you-poison-10390404

This is the true emotional impact of wind turbines, and I sympathise with the poor, tormented writer of the “poison pen” letters. It could have almost been me, only I always put my full name and address on all of my correspondence, because I want my communications to be documented and added to the nation’s official public discourse. Plus, as regular readers will have discovered by now, I prefer to engage with people in a two-way dialogue than to simply stick rude notes through their letterbox and then run away.

In terms of content, however, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed.

We don’t want wind blight around here. We will make our grievances known to anyone who spoils the landscape for personal profit, in order to drive home the TRUTH that it’s simply not socially acceptable to ruin our treasured rural landscapes with ugly wind turbines.

 

 

Robin Brooks’ Big Mistake: Carsington Pastures Wind Farm

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Almost all of today’s entry will be an excerpt from the letter I sent the Planning Inspectorate last year. I’m posting it here following a trip back to the White Peak, in which I could not escape the Carsington monsters following me around wherever I looked. The letter is an official document and has been logged on the Planning Inspectorate’s system; as such it is an integral part of the national discourse on wind power, most definitely in the public interest as evidence of the harmful impact of various wind farms on the Peak District.

My personal approach to (ex) Planning Inspector Robin Brooks is to keep this public slaughtering of his reputation strictly on-topic and related to professional matters. He screwed up in his job. If his superiors disagree and think he did a good job, then it’s them, not him, to blame. One way or another, a bad job was carried out, with horrendous impacts. Someone, somewhere has to take responsibility for the colossal error of judgment in allowing Carsington Pastures Wind Farm to f**k up vast swathes of the Peak District.

Robin Brooks is the man with his name attached to the Planning Appeal that allowed this blight to be built, once again against the wishes of the local community and without their consent, and so until I hear otherwise, my search for environmental justice is pointing me in Mr Brooks’ direction.

In publicly shaming Robin Brooks, I’m not seeking to hurt him, rather to educate him; to reach out and make him aware of the harmful impact of his actions on the mental health and well-being of thousands of British citizens who look to the National Parks for recreation, relaxation and a vital escape from industry. It’s not too late for Mr Brooks to emerge from hiding and admit, on the record, that he goofed and now stands opposed to the wind blight he previously sanctioned.

I’m a great believer in sinners repenting and being forgiven, and that’s what I’d love to happen regarding Carsington: (1) apologies and acknowledgment from all concerned that they have seriously harmed our most visited National Park; (2) remedial action to remove all traces of the wind blight from the National Park; followed on my side by (3) forgiveness for their mistakes. That’s the journey I’m heading on, but things need to happen in the right order. The apologies must come first. Then the remedial action. Finally, forgiveness.

So let’s hand over to the original letter, addressed to the Planning Inspectorate as an organisation, and my very own Freedom of Information requests regarding the inexplicable approval of Carsington Pastures Wind Farm.

——-

CASE #02: CARSINGTON PASTURES WIND FARM, WIRKSWORTH
CASE REF: APP/P1045/A/07/2054080
CASE OFFICER: ROBIN BROOKS

Proven negative environmental impact:

In order to truly understand the devastating environmental impact of the Carsington Pastures Wind Farm, and how its approval on appeal by Mr Brooks breaches every principle of planning best practice since the Second World War, it is necessary to have a detailed knowledge of the social history of the Peak National Park and its formation.

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 set out two “statutory purposes”:

1. to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area, and

2. to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the park’s special qualities by the public.

There is also a statutory duty: “to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national parks.”

Approving an unwanted power station, rejected by the community, less than two miles from the Peak District, on a prominent ridge visible from north of Bakewell, east of Matlock, south of Ashbourne and west of Buxton, must rank as one of the most outrageous, possibly criminal planning mistakes in recorded history.

Almost the entirety of the Southern Peak District is now blighted by the unsightly appearance of the huge, obtrusive industrial development looming over the otherwise idyllic National Park, breaching the core principles above by defiling the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the area, and spoiling opportunities for millions of people to escape nasty industrial views and enjoy the park’s special qualities.

Extent of area blighted by Carsington Pastures Wind Farm:

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I shouldn’t need to inform the Planning Inspectorate about its duty to conserve the integrity of the UK’s National Parks at all costs – if at any time the Planning Inspectorate does not put their conservation first and foremost in its decisions, then it is a malignant agency that is not fit-for-purpose,  proactively and deliberately harming the environment and inhabitants of the UK; as such, I would not want a penny of my taxes to go towards propping up such an unpatriotic organisation.

I sincerely hope this degradation of the Peak was inadvertent and accidental rather than deliberate or malicious, however the approval of Carsington Pastures Wind Farm has undoubtedly had an extremely (and entirely predictable/avoidable) negative impact on the landscapes of the National Park, and so the fact remains: the Planning Inspectorate has provably damaged the United Kingdom and harmed the millions of citizens whose appreciation of its unique landscapes has been ruined all for the profits of one firm, Engie Renewables (based over 100 miles away).

Causing harm to the environment & inhabitants of the UK is totally unacceptable to me, therefore I am now taking action to enforce the compulsory removal of the unwanted, unneeded Carsington Pastures Wind Farm.

I am reaching out to you as a representative of the Planning Inspectorate, in the sincere hope that you appreciate the true severity of Mr Brooks’ harmful decision and its extremely negative impact on the UK’s best interests. It is my hope that official arrangements can consequently be made for the removal of the destructive wind farm, without the need for the community to sideline the Planning Inspectorate and take over sole responsibility for the enforced removal of the harmful wind turbines, with no outside assistance.

The people of the UK do not want or need the wind farm at Carsington Pastures, as expressed unequivocally by Derbyshire Dales Council’s strong rejection of the application, and the electorate’s rejection of pro-wind policies at every general election since 2010 (plus the Brexit vote, which was a vote against, amongst other things, EU energy/environmental policies). Mr Brooks’ decision is unpatriotic, antidemocratic, unethical, unnatural, unsupported by science and therefore totally unacceptable. CONSEQUENTLY, CARSINGTON PASTURES WIND FARM HAS TO BE FORCIBLY REMOVED.

FOI Request:

(21) In Paragraph 47 Mr Brooks states: “Both their visual impact and their effects on landscape character would diminish fairly quickly to east and west, and would be perceived by those travelling through the landscape as affecting a relatively limited area.” In Paragraph 52 Mr Brooks states: “…significant visual effects would be likely up to about 3-5 kms radius of the appeal site though this
does not in itself equate to unacceptable harm to landscape character”

These are provable errors made by Mr Brooks personally, factually incorrect misstatements of Carsington Pastures Wind Farm’s impact on the landscape. I will testify that these descriptions of the wind farm’s impact are incorrect, if not downright dishonest/deceptive.

The true fact is that Carsington Pastures has ruined the iconic “White Peak” landscapes from such important vantage points as Axe Edge (20 miles away), Thorpe Cloud (10 miles away), Crich Memorial Tower (9 miles away) and Longstone Edge (15 miles away). What Mr Brooks has spectacularly failed to take into account is that the very attraction of the Peak District is to offer every citizen of the UK and overseas visitors the chance to feel “on top of the world”. To deprive people of that sensation by erecting such prominent, high-altitude industrial structures is to belittle and disrespect every single citizen of the UK. In such a context, the visual effect of even the slightest blight is amplified and of heightened negative impact due to the uniqueness and remoteness of the National Park.

The song “The Manchester Rambler” by Ewan MacColl, recognised as the anthem of the original Kinder Trespass which led to the creation of the Peak District National Park, sets out in lyrics the ethos (enshrined in law) behind National Park policy: “I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday.” The menacing sight and presence of huge industrial equipment operating unremittingly, even on a Sunday, is a direct attack on that freedom from “wage slavery”, bringing corporate industry and the health/safety risks inherent in high-voltage electricity generation to what is supposed to be a National Park, an area of recuperation and freedom away from such toxic blight, thus ruining the meditative, liberating qualities of the landscape. To deprive people of this basic freedom is, quite frankly, immoral and directly hostile to the well-being of UK citizens.

Therefore it is factually incorrect to say that the turbines do not equate to unacceptable harm to the landscape. They do, just by being there in the landscape, denying people the chance to survey the rolling hills as far as the eye can see. There is scientific evidence that it is medically good for people to experience nature (source: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/28/8567.abstract), and therefore it is indisputable that by allowing a significant man-made presence to degrade the natural environment of the Peak District, Mr Brooks has directly and unacceptably harmed the health of UK citizens.

How can I therefore enforce a full enquiry into how Mr Brooks came to base his report on these harmful falsehoods about the true extent of Carsington Pastures’ adverse impact on the National Park, including a list of locations that he visited in the course of his casework?

(22) What procedures are available to me to enforce the reversal of Mr Brooks’ wrong decision, based on his false statements incorrectly describing the extent of the adverse impact of the wind farm, rather than its true impact (unacceptably detrimental to the beauty of dozens of significant peaks within the National Park, inappropriate blight visible from distances of up to 20 miles
away)?

Proven depreciation of all properties from which turbine is visible:

The inhabitants of Derbyshire Dales and the southern Peak District (stretching as far as Staffordshire) are now “second class citizens” as a direct result of having this ghastly blight imposed on them against their will, with their homes depreciated directly as a result of Mr Brooks’ decision to allow the construction of the inappropriate wind farm.

[Source: “Gone With The Wind” – report by the London School of Economics proving the adverse effect of wind turbines on house prices http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/58422/]

Carbon footprint of construction/maintenance/decommissioning:

FOI Request:

(23) Please provide the independently verified carbon footprint of the
construction, maintenance and disposal of Carsington Pastures Wind Farm (plus ancillary infrastructure), including the land restoration that will be necessary to return the land to its original state.

Unproven environmental benefit claims:

Up until the carbon payback date of the wind farm it has ZERO environmental benefit, in fact due to its carbon footprint and widely visible blight, it has a provable negative impact on the environment. Its sole claimed benefit is that it will apparently one day offset CO2 emissions.

FOI Requests:

(24) Please provide the independently verified guaranteed output of
Carsington Pastures Wind Farm (including the percentage of this
output generated by fossil fuel-powered turbine rotation, ie when
the turbines’ rotation is not powered by the wind, but either by
diesel or by drawing power from the grid);

(25) Please provide the independently verified amount of CO2
emissions that will be guaranteed to be saved as a result of this
wind farm’s operation.

(26) Please provide the contractually agreed date by which the wind
farm is guaranteed to have offset the CO2 emissions involved in
its construction, maintenance, decommissioning and land
restoration.

(27) Please provide the legally binding penalty for the wind farm’s
failure to meet the agreed carbon payback date.

Evidence of negligence/corruption:

I wish to make a formal complaint about the following comment, so unbelievably crass, insensitive and ignorant that this raises serious doubts about the mentality of the Planning Inspectorate and those working for it. From Paragraph 46: “a good number [of tourists] would probably accept it [the wind farm] as a dramatic addition.”

Even more astoundingly wrong and ignorant, from Paragraph 72: “Against this background I find it hard to believe that, in general, views would be so disturbing as to unacceptably diminish the aesthetic and recreational experiences of the majority of visitors, including their appreciation of the particular qualities of the National Park.”

Such a lack of empathy and awareness of the desire of the National Park visitors to escape from repulsive, towering man-made, corporately owned structures as displayed by Mr Brooks above, is pathological, bordering on sadistic, in its casual indifference towards the adverse effect of his decision upon the millions of visitors to the National Park, whose experiences have all been spoilt as a result of his ill-informed subjective opinion. It is a fact that Mr Brooks has sided with the interests of Engie Renewables over the millions of visitors to the Peak District, when he personally was entrusted with the authority to conserve the integrity of the National Park for ALL citizens of the UK.

Therefore, as a CUSTOMER of the Planning Inspectorate who pays the organisation to protect my country from inappropriate blight, I do not want a penny of the tax money I pay you going towards this horrible man, who has personally insulted ME, until he has been dismissed pending full psychiatric assessment relating to his unacceptable contempt towards his fellow UK citizens. Spoiling millions of people’s “peak experiences” must rank as one of the most evil, immoral actions imaginable, and this is ALWAYS unacceptable to me. Even if miraculously no existing law has been broken, then I ask the Planning Inspectorate to take a serious look at the spirit of its behaviour, its ethics and conduct, and to appreciate the very real and true pain and suffering it has caused to millions of people needlessly. This is a matter of conscience and soul-searching as much as about the law – WHY ARE THESE NASTY PEOPLE DOING THIS TO THE COUNTRYSIDE? WHY WOULD ANYBODY JOIN THE PLANNING INSPECTORATE IN ORDER TO IMPOSE INAPPROPRIATE BLIGHT ON A COMMUNITY WITHOUT ITS CONSENT? HOW IS THAT  ETHICAL, FAIR OR JUST?

FOI Request:

(28) How can I as a tax-paying citizen object as strongly as possible to such offensive comments, totally and diametrically opposite to the principles of the above National Park legislation? People do NOT visit National Parks to look at disgusting, corporate industrial equipment that resembles huge disembodied spiders. I am utterly gobsmacked that a professional Planning Inspector could seriously add to an official report, which had the power to radically change the appearance and character of the UK’s first and most visited National Park, such subjective, qualitative and unverified comments about a large number of visitors “probably” accepting it.

(29) Who is Mr Brooks’ line manager? Can you send me evidence that Mr Brooks’ line manager has been alerted to my complaint and Mr Brooks has received appropriate disciplinary measures as a result of grossly understating the impact of a wind farm he approved?

(30) How can I arrange a training session with Mr Brooks and his line manager, to visit with me some of the beauty spots that have been destroyed as a result of Mr Brooks’ wrong decision, to provide education and information for Mr Brooks that he clearly is not aware of, and to improve the quality of future decision-making so that such a mistake is never, ever made again?

Feedback from members of the community:

“It was notable that local authorities rejected the proposals only to have it sanctioned by Whitehall. Collusion, anyone?”

“Oh I am absolutely convinced of it being government collusion / stitch up. The land around here has remained agricultural since, forever. If you apply to build a house it is never granted planning permission. One day planning is requested for a test mast – turned down. An appeal is lodged and all of a sudden permission granted. Never happened like that since I’ve lived here (about 6 years)”

“The financial details reported don’t tally with the [Engie Renewables] website; wonder what’s hidden in all this?”

“If these things are so benign I wonder why they have to list all these caveats too?“

“It really is absolutely disgusting isn’t it. Money grubbers able to ignore the wishes of the vast majority of locals and local authorities with the connivance of govt. departments“

“Because most of the people who have the areas they live in blighted by these huge, artificial, ugly, wasteful monstrosities hate the ruination of the natural landscape and the tax we have to pay to foreign companies and rich landowners alike, for bugger all benefit.”

FOI Request:

(27) What is the Planning Inspectorate’s official response to these residents’ allegations of collusion/impropriety regarding the “foregone conclusion” of the approval of Carsington Pastures Wind Farm on appeal? Would Mr Brooks be prepared to testify in a court of law that at no time was he coerced or influenced, nor rewarded financially, for approving Carsington Pastures Wind Farm?

Proposed Environmental Restoration Solution:

TOTAL RESCINDING OF PLANNING PERMISSION FOR CARSINGTON PASTURES WIND FARM & ITS COMPULSORY REMOVAL, WITH A 25 YEAR JAIL SENTENCE FOR NON-COMPLIANCE

Proposed Disciplinary Action Against Robin Brooks:

DISMISSAL FOR GROSS NEGLIGENCE RESULTING IN HARM TO THE BRITISH PUBLIC

——-

The letter continued, with another four wind farm planning appeals put under the microscope. As I say, the law had already changed by the time I’d sent the letter, and none of these wind farms would now be permitted. But what about steps to get rid of those that slipped through the net, such as Carsington? Maybe we just have to wait until the end of the contracts, not very long in the great scheme of things.

The important thing to take forward is that we as a society must make it clear to our Planning Inspectors that their most important job is to conserve our National Parks and Green Belts. Any decisions that have a negative impact on our special landscapes will simply NOT be tolerated. Furthermore Planning Inspectors are expected to be transparent and accessible, the way I am (open invitation to any reader who wants to meet up for a coffee and a chat!). Running away from your responsibilities to the general public is absolutely unacceptable.

Eco-vandals will be hounded, pursued and their lives made hell, until they face up to the impact of their actions.

The simple solution is to respect the countryside and to refuse any type of landscape degradation whatsoever! 

Thankfully, since Sajid Javid came along to bang some heads together and restore some sense and empathy to the scene, it’s been a while since I’ve had to publicly shame any Planning Inspectors. Brendan Lyons was the last, thanks to his Jaytail Farm abomination.

To Robin Brooks I say once more: admit you got the Carsington case totally wrong, apologise wholeheartedly, make the case for the immediate removal of the wind farm, and I will forgive you.

YOUR HOMEWORK FOR TODAY:

Here’s your homework for today: get yourself to Greenfield, the last outpost of Oldham, nestled underneath the Dark Peak at its most rocky and mountainous. Everyone knows Snowdon and Helvellyn, but how many people are aware that within the boundaries of Oldham lie some of the most dramatic, almost-vertical mountainsides in the country?

The A635 (known locally as The Isle Of Skye Road) winds its way past Dove Stones to the right and Pots & Pans to the left, rapidly climbing in altitude until it reaches the top of the infamous Saddleworth Moor. This is a truly “top of the world”, outer-space landscape, as if only tenuously connected to solid Earth. I’ve mentioned before about alpha brain waves, and how these ethereal landscapes help alter our frame of mind into a healing, relaxing, lightly hypnotised state.

Sadly, almost as soon as you pass the county line into Kirklees, the blight begins and its negative impact on your mindset becomes apparent. The first three turbines to catch your eye are miles away to the north at Round Ings Hill Farm – a high point locally that nonetheless is a good couple of hundred metres lower than Saddleworth Moor. These turbines take too much of your attention, spoiling the view from this part of the National Park. THEY MUST COME DOWN!

Once past the Wessenden Head turning, the land to the south of the Isle Of Skye Road starts falling away, offering what, just ten years ago, were amazing, unspoilt views across the uppermost Holme Valley towards the Dark Peak plateau, stretching from Holme Moss towards Snailsden.

There are now a good two dozen individual wind turbines visible, as well as the previously studied Royd Moor, Spicer Hill and Hazelhead wind farms. Please do get here for a true vision of just how badly this area has been affected by wind power infrastructure, so you can experience the impact for yourself.

One by one, these turbines will be targetted for removal, starting at the top with Whitegates Farm, just a few metres from the edge of the Dark Peak, and working our way down the valley. I have given the owners of Whitegates Farm some feedback:

I wish to make a formal complaint about your inappropriate wind turbine, which has had an unbelievably negative impact on the landscapes of the Dark Peak and Holme Valley south of Huddersfield. Views from as far away the A635 Isle of Skye Road near Wessenden Head have been utterly trashed by the hideous high-visibility white metal towers that have come to dominate the area in the last decade.

Your turbine in particular is far too close to the National Park to be acceptable, and therefore I request politely that you remove it at once, avoiding the need for further action to force the removal of the unwanted blight. I have been monitoring the turbine and have noticed several occasions in which it is spinning rapidly in no wind – what is powering it at these times if not the wind? And what is the environmental benefit of the high visibility white paint? It is totally inappropriate and wrong for the landscape, absolutely unacceptable.

Do you have any understanding of the negative impact your wind turbine has on the public? Why should everyone else suffer just for your benefit? Therefore I am taking steps to ensure your wind turbine is decommissioned ASAP, the first of which is to inform you of the harm you are causing, and to ask you politely to remove the turbine voluntarily. I do hope this matter can be resolved without the need for legal help. I will be featuring this correspondence in my blog MindWind – Monitoring The Impact Of Wind Turbines On Mental Health.

 

 

 

Aesthetics For Dummies: The Majesty Of Wind Turbines Debunked

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My thesis regarding the aesthetics of wind turbines is that they have an objectively negative quality. A few freaks and weirdos might personally like the appearance of wind turbines (which is fine by me: as a classical liberal I’m all for freedom of thought and freedom of expression), but objectively speaking I’d like to make the case that wind turbines have a provably negative aesthetic value, and therefore it’s morally wrong to inflict their presence on people against their will and without their consent.

(This is the same ethical principle as saying if people really want to eat a plate of cold sick, it’s their perfect right to do so, but the moment they force someone else to eat their regurgitated vomit, it crosses ethical boundaries.)

Now of course we are all forced to see things that have a negative aesthetic value many times daily; are they also morally as aesthetically impaired? Generally speaking, progress involves gradually removing or improving bad aesthetics wherever we come across room for improvement. Most of the time our town planning has been very tight and stringent about maintaining as good aesthetics as possible, although every now and then we have made catastrophic mistakes.

A lot of late 60s town centre redevelopments and social housing schemes suffered from incredibly poor aesthetics, which only increased crime, antisocial behaviour and social injustice. The worst examples, such as Manchester’s Hulme Crescents, have gone down in history as Titanic-sized planning mistakes, universally acknowledged as such and henceforth referred to in textbooks as what to avoid in the future.

I’d like to put the UK’s wind energy planning policy (1992 to 2015) in the same category: a catastrophic underestimation of just how badly wind turbines screwed up the aesthetics of some our most cherished landscapes.

The term “psychogeography” refers to how our landscapes affect our moods, which is also an underpinning tenet of feng shui. The ethics of the psychogeographical impact of a development are a no-brainer on every level: good aesthetics make us feel better, bad aesthetics make us feel worse, therefore it’s morally wrong to impose bad aesthetics on people. Anyone who doesn’t get this basic principle should be strung out of the Planning Inspectorate on their ear.

GOOD AESTHETICS ENHANCE OUR MOODS.

BAD AESTHETICS WORSEN OUR MOODS.

Anyone who imposes bad aesthetics onto people against their will is therefore acting unethically.

So what are aesthetics, and how do their differ from taste? The whole point of aesthetics is that they are objective, rational and based on mathematical and geometric principles, not subjective in any way. Liking something is NOT the same as appreciating its aesthetic qualities, although what you tend to find is the more people understand aesthetics, the more their tastes will converge.

This is the same with music: a Number One single will have certain aesthetic characteristics that resonate clearly with a far wider audience than simply some obscure album track. These will be related to the structure, composition, arrangement, performance and production, that all share certain values. One’s own musical taste might not be for Number One pop singles, but that’s beside the point… there is a certain, almost definable, aesthetic that separates a smash hit from a flop!

When you read some Green BS that tells you “aesthetics are a personal thing… I’ll like wind turbines if I want to, nobody will tell me otherwise”, they’re actually talking about individual taste rather than aesthetics. Personally liking wind turbines is fine, just as long as they are the only one in the world to see them. But the moment they inflict their turbines on anyone else, against their will and without their consent, is the moment they lose the moral argument. 

One of the simplest ways of determining the aesthetic value of something is to look at how few noticeable flaws there are in its contextual presentation (ie the right look, sound and feel, in the right time and the right place). If there’s nothing obviously wrong with a picture, a song, a movie or a landscape, then you could say it has an aesthetic value of 100%. Each little mistake, everything that breaks the spell of perfection, pulls the percentage down by a fraction. We could therefore say that anything with a total aesthetic value of over 50% is essentially aesthetically positive, albeit with imperfections; whereas anything with a total aesthetic value of under 50% is essentially aesthetically negative, even if it does have a few highlights.

Understanding aesthetics is the trick to changing or modifying anything. Nothing that gets added should have any detriment to what is already good. Changes or modifications should complement or enhance the existing form, enriching it or adding subtle definition. All elements should be in harmony and synchronisation with each other (I’ve mentioned this before in regard to out-of-phase wind turbines: were they ballerinas, they would have rotten vegetables thrown at them!).

Yes, there can be a time and place for dissonant “shock” aesthetics that obliterate everything in their path – eg The Sex Pistols or a Tarantino movie – but in order to be good they have to be deliberate (or just highly intuitive), well aware of their stark impact on those who come across them, doing it for a reason.

And this is the key to why wind turbines have bad aesthetics: any element that appears in high contrast to its surroundings will stand out as the dominant feature… just like this sentence! The same applies to pop vocals over an instrumental backing track, cartoon spaceships exploding into huge fireballs, graffiti spraypainted onto a train, and sterile white wind turbines erected in a lush, verdant meadow.

The extremely high visual prominence of wind turbines set against a green backdrop (a contrast more prominent than virtually any other structure you can imagine) has the effect of dramatically transforming the colour balance of a landscape; all the green elements are relegated to the background, whilst the gleaming white pillars and blades are promoted to the foreground.

The basic error of the wrong colour is compounded by the even more rudimentary errors of the wrong size (wind turbines by far the largest elements of a rural landscape) and the wrong shape (skeletal, jagged and deathly). The larger and more intrusive the wind turbines, the smaller and more insignificant all the natural, green elements of a landscape.

Taken together, these three schoolboy aesthetic errors – wrong colour, wrong size and wrong shape – ensure that, far from being Green themselves, wind turbines have the effect of blocking out, belittling and blighting all that is truly Green.

I can’t work out whether the brutal aesthetic of high-visibility white wind turbines slashing their way through our deep green landscapes was simply accidental (based on stupidity, ignorance and utterly Philistine levels of aesthetic appreciation); or whether, according to a rather more sinister explanation, it was actually deliberately intended that huge white wind turbines would be allowed to trash traditional green countryside views and reinvent our “rural landscapes” as “turbine landscapes”…

Either way: the only possible logical explanation anyone could have for enjoying the aesthetics of wind turbines would be IF THEY REALLY, REALLY DIDN’T LIKE THE COUNTRYSIDE. Then, and only then, might there be a conceivable reason to claim the confrontational impact of wind turbines was aesthetically successful in any way.

Let’s now look at a real-life example of how distant turbines can have a ruinous effect on our National Parks.

This piece was directly inspired by the views from one stretch of road, which I advise everyone to visit, so you too can experience this impact for yourselves. Get yourself up to the Peak District, specifically the top of Ringinglow Road, then head east down towards Sheffield. What an amazing vista, so wide that you can almost see the Earth’s curvature. You’ll also see for yourself the impact of various wind farms, most prominent of which is Penny Hill, a good ten miles away. Even from up here on the roof of the world, the giant turbines catch your eye and take your attention.

What we have at Ringinglow Road is an amazing landscape stretching as far as the eye can see, a great place for amateur painters to set up their easel and try and recreate the vast panorama. Sheffield City Centre is huddled at the centre of the landscape, with Rotherham a little further away and Doncaster bringing up the rear. Unfortunately the haphazard turbines at Penny Hill change the focus of the view, so that instead of the squat, cubic towers of Steel City being the focal point, now these giant spinning monsters queue-barge their way to the front of your attention span.

It seems that wind turbines extract more energy from humans and animals than from the wind itself.

Unless the Planning Inspectorate specifically wanted visitors to the Peak District to have their views dominated by these spinning wind turbines, and their “shock” aesthetic was deliberately added to unnerve people and make them feel awkward, inadvertently what they’ve done is to transform the aesthetics of a treasured National Park viewpoint into one in which electricity generators are now the most eye-catching feature. It’s true that you can see Drax, Eggborough and Ferrybridge power stations from up here, but their aesthetics are nowhere near as negative, the curved cooling towers far, far distant on the skyline, anchoring and framing the landscape.

The aesthetics of spinning wind turbines on this Peak District landscape are akin to the aesthetics of flashing text on a website…

In searching for a hilariously bad example of flashing text ruining a website, I came across this website with some actual design principles. I think most of these apply to landscapes as well, so ask yourself how well wind turbines apply to these fundamentals of good aesthetics:

  • Proper use of colour (are wind turbines painted the right colour for the landscape?)
  • Proper use of animation (let’s say motion… how do the blade movements help the landscape?)
  • Pleasing to the eye (COMPARED TO HOW IT WOULD LOOK WITHOUT THE TURBINES!)
  • Appropriate to the topic (ie appropriate to the surrounding landscape)
  • The design elements don’t get in the way of the content (ie your sense of well-being isn’t interfered with by the turbines)

Now I’d like to debunk another old trope, and time to put to bed yet another hoary old Green BS line… just after writing my last entry, which ridiculed the strangely common usage of the word “majestic” amongst pro-wind councillors and commentators, I came across that ludicrous description yet again in an online debate:

“I love wind turbines. I find them majestic and beautiful.” Or words to that effect. OK… Pause… Deep Breath… With all due respect to everyone’s right to think whatever they want, I’d love to break down this sentiment and expose what lies beneath the surface, something quite surprising actually:

WHEN PEOPLE SAY THEY FIND WIND TURBINES MAJESTIC, THEY ARE REVEALING THEMSELVES TO BE FAR-RIGHT CAPITALISTS AT HEART.

EVEN FURTHER RIGHT THAN THE TORIES!

Firstly, it has to be said that “majestic” is a ridiculously pompous adjective, very rarely used in everyday speech. When was the last time you used it, dear reader? When was the last time someone wandered around Gipton saying, “Ey oop it’s reet majestic is that Knowlesthorp wind turbine.” It’s a Polly Toynbee word. Nobody under 60 would use it.

But what exactly is “majesty” when it’s at home? Well, there are two definitions, clearly linked: (1) “impressive beauty, scale, or stateliness”; and (2) “royal power”. So fundamentally the concept of “majesty” is linked to the power of the monarchy, and one’s perception that such power is beautiful and impressive. The aesthetics of “majesty” are stateliness, ornateness, opulence and splendour, all denoting wealth, power and privilege.

I understand these aesthetics perfectly, after all as I keep saying, aesthetics are not a personal thing. I’m just not convinced these are the aesthetics people really want to be confronted with, high in the wild moors of the Peak District. Especially when that “majesty” comes in the form of a high voltage electricity generator owned and operated by a corporation. I’m not sure that’s entirely in keeping with the spirit of “The Manchester Rambler”.

Now one might say the very Peaks themselves are majestic, especially the mighty lion-like Kinder Scout as viewed from the east, nestling its surrounding peaks like cubs. But here’s the psychological difference between finding a mountain “majestic” and finding a wind turbine “majestic”: the whole ethos of the National Parks is that every single one of us, physically able to do so, can go and climb Kinder. That’s what the struggle was for. To give each of us the opportunity to stand a few feet taller than the highest land in the region. To be on top of the world. To have all that majesty BENEATH OUR FEET!

Yes, it’s all well and good having views of distant mountains, in fact this in itself is good psychogeography and healthy for all of us. But it’s something else to be able to climb to the top of them and look down! It’s empowering, self-actualising and incredible for mental health 🙂

Unless we are able to climb to the very top of a moving wind turbine, our only experience of its “majesty” comes from gazing up at it. This is surely highly passive and disempowering!

When people say they find wind turbines “majestic”, they really mean they like to gawp up at great big gadgets, and luxuriate in their perceived “Royal” stateliness. Which to me seems incredibly right-wing in so many ways… firstly the deferential, forelock-tugging, bowing and scraping to ANYONE or ANYTHING is the antithesis to the rebellious spirit of the original Kinder Trespassers. But when the object of such deference is a metal machine, owned and run by some huge corporation, then it’s off-the-scale Worship at the Altar of Capitalism!

As I say, even the Conservatives aren’t that right wing. Even the Conservatives, especially Man of the Moment Sajid Javid (you read it here first… what did I tell you about the high correlation between opposing wind blight and doing well in life?!), care more about the majesty of Kinder than the majesty of yet another wind farm.

So when you next come across someone raving about the majesty of wind turbines, ask them if they’ve always been more right-wing and capitalist than the Conservatives?

The only other conclusion to be drawn is that they’ve mixed up the word “majesty” with “travesty”….

 

 

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly In Scotland

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OK, that’s it, I’m packing this blog in. All this time I’ve been ranting away, writing letters to politicians and essays to the public, submitting FOI Requests, commenting on planning applications and video-taping evidence of turbine malpractice; all with the aim of removing every single wind turbine from the UK and its waters.

All for nothing. You see, I’ve changed my mind.

I’ve found a wind farm I like.

Gasp…

OK, let’s not get carried away. Before I alienate all my fellow Wind Warriors (“Judas!” I hear them cry), I should make it clear that although I’ve just found a wind farm I “quite” liked, I’ve also come across some of the most egregious eco-destruction imaginable, so the hit is balanced, indeed outnumbered by numerous misses.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned Critical Thinking and Hegelian Dialetic in this blog before. Well, only about a trillion times… Today’s entry is all about critical thinking and grading the impact of the various wind farms I just encountered on a tour of Central and Southern Scotland.

As I have written repeatedly, I’m trying to get beyond the simplistic slogans that dominate many public pronouncements on wind energy: “Ooh I love the majesty of wind turbines. They make me feel hopeful that there is a future for humanity after all”. It’s amazing how many proponents of wind energy come up with almost verbatim clones of this comment template. It sounds like it derives from the John Lennon School of Political Discourse: “Imagine all the people, living life in peace” he wrote, in between drinking and beating Yoko. (Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Lennon’s music, but I think even he would have admitted that utopian pop lyrics were more his forte than the practicalities of town and country planning).

I’m therefore not only ridiculing and lampooning the uncritical support for wind power based upon nothing but the vaguest and most nebulous of hopes and dreams, but also trying to introduce the type of quality control and gradation of real-life wind energy schemes that we see in every other field of human endeavour – from schools to hospitals to hotels to restaurants… How good is the service? If we compare similar companies, which ones perform the best, and why? Which ones are in urgent need of improvement? How can we drive standards up and put the rogue traders out of business?

In every other industry, we reward those who provide great value for money and we penalise those who are ripping us off. Why should the wind industry be any different?

For my part, I’m going to grade my findings from my Scotland road trip into three categories: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. In truth of course when it comes to wind turbines, the last two categories are virtually synonymous, and so I’ll modify the definition of “ugly” in this context to refer specifically to those ugly secrets the wind operators would rather keep hidden. Accordingly, a “bad” wind farm is one which looks, sounds and feels self-evidently awful, whereas “ugly” facts simply relate to the dark truths behind the glossy brochures and Lennonesque lyricisms.

As always, my modus operandi is this: a genuine need to travel (in this case for work), followed by a written description of my findings en route. Any wind turbines that catch my eye and affect my mood are researched and, if I feel strongly enough, contact is made with the relevant authorities to log my objections officially.

So let’s kick off with an example of The Good: a wind farm that actually exceeded my low expectations and appeared to be less offensive to the senses than I would have predicted. The winner of this award is none other than the huge Whitelee Wind Farm, the UK’s largest onshore wind farm, located a few miles south of Glasgow.

What made it better than expected? Well, the obvious, immediate answer is that, for a wind farm with around a hundred turbines, Whitelee is remarkably unobtrusive. There should be a fundamental assumption built in to all wind farm design that the public do not want to see these machines, and at least at Whitelee you really have to make the effort to get there. The contours of the land provide a natural barrier between the wind farm and Glasgow to the north. If you really want to see Whitelee up close, you have to follow the Tourist Attraction signs.

Tourist Attraction? Yes, apparently Whitelee is a huge tourist attraction, though I was the only person there on the misty Tuesday evening I inspected the site. There is even a visitor’s centre and a park (of sorts) dotted around the wind turbines, with paths, trees and even some lakes for good measure.

I like the transparency of this approach and found it refreshing, compared with the “Danger! Keep Out!” intimidating hostility of most wind farms. The calm atmosphere of the place transported me back in time to my very first dalliance with wind energy, way way back in 2002 when I chanced upon the Centre for Alternative Technology, deep in the mid-Wales countryside.

It’s amazing to think that in those days I’d have been wholeheartedly in support of wind technology. I’d like to think it’s not me that’s changed over the intervening 16 years – it’s the grim reality of wind energy itself that, having been given every chance in the world to prove its value, ended up upsetting far more people and damaging more landscapes than could have ever been imagined.

For a moment Whitelee took me back to the Centre for Alternative Technology, with its mission to inform and educate the public. It seemed more genuinely “hippie” somehow than the wind farms near me in the South Pennines, less corporate and brutal in its aesthetic, like the people involved aren’t just doing it for money.

Sadly, with the benefit of hindsight, this idealistic approach to wind power now seems quaintly dated and dreadfully misguided, a “retro-futuristic” relic of a bygone era, like an old episode of Tomorrow’s World. But as a tourist attraction, an interesting place to visit, it’s definitely unique. The Whitelee Experience gives an idea of what, in a parallel universe, wind power might have been.

Meanwhile, back on this planet…

One final reason why Whitelee seemed to exceed expectations is confirmation of a theory I’ve posited a few times, and what I experienced makes me feel even more strongly that size and scale are everything. Because wind turbines are by their very nature huge (the longer the blades, the more wind can be “caught” apparently – I know, I know, don’t laugh at the absurdity of all this!), they dwarf all the other elements of our landscapes and as a result tend to screw up our sense of balance and equilibrium.

Rather than struggle to integrate these monsters into our cherished landscapes, let’s find a handful of areas where we don’t even bother – we happily admit defeat and dedicate the land to wind turbines. But the deal is this: no turbines anywhere else outside these zones.

In a previous entry I referred to the M62 model – we’ve progressed from loads of narrow, windy highways across the moors to one giant superhighway (the old roads are still there, but only the Woodhead is still an industrial route, the rest pretty much just pleasure-driving routes now).

Whitelee is the M62 of wind farms. Well, it should be. I’d much rather have five or six Whitelee-sized wind farms in similarly well-chosen locations, than dozens and dozens of inappropriate smaller turbine developments.

The fact is that even a single turbine like at Jaytail Farm or Marsden Gate can have an appalling impact on a vast area. Far better then to install one mega wind farm per region (say: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England South and England North), each with hundreds of turbines, than to blitz the entirety of Britain with smaller developments.

A good computer analogy would be defragging the hard drive: our wind blight is too fragmented, corrupting the integrity of far too much of our countryside. Far better to shove all the wind turbines into a few designated partitions.

Now there is an ugly side to all the above. The biggest scare story so far has come from a local doctor, who has assiduously researched the theory that Whitelee Wind Farm might have polluted local water with carcinogens:

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/120million-question-britains-biggest-windfarm-7322029

Also, sadly, in 2017 a turbine worker fell to his death in an accident at Whitelee. Although the human toll of wind power is low, and it’s never pleasant when someone dies, it nonetheless does give us a rare opportunity to take a closer look at the running of these operations, even if the turbines have to be stopped for weeks or months while investigations are carried out.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/windfarm-worker-plunges-death-turbine-10134003

As for actual usefulness, well how well has Whitelee performed at its main job, generating electricity? Presumably it’s easy to see at the click of a mouse button exactly how much Whitelee contributes to our power needs?

Erm. I’ll get back to you with that when I can actually get hold of the stats. Don’t hold your breath…

All in all then, despite a few ugly secrets, on the surface I’d grade Whitelee as a (relatively) Good Wind Farm. Let’s now travel to Stirling to look at a Bad Wind Farm. Ladies and gents, I present the Braes of Doune Wind Farm. This is a travesty, one so self-evidently terrible that its impact even made the Daily Mail, though if I’m honest I’d bet money that the photo has been modified somehow to make the turbines appear nearer Stirling Castle than they really are (about five miles away). I don’t approve of bending the facts to prove a point, and in this case the stark reality doesn’t even need exaggerating. So take the Mail’s story as possibly based on a manipulated photo rather than an actual site visit, but that doesn’t mean the basic facts aren’t true. As always, do your own research. Nobody sued the Mail for libel over this story, put it that way.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-561163/The-shocking-picture-shows-wind-farm-disfigured-Britains-loveliest-landscapes.html

Yet again there’s a secret ugliness to the Braes of Doune operation, swept under the carpet but exposed thanks to the hard work of these local activists. This detailed report makes very sad reading, but it’s the ugly truth about the horrendous environmental impact of the wind farm.

http://www.windsofjustice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/scandalonthebraes-lores1.pdf

Finally, I stumbled across another fascinating case study of a wind farm, quite by chance. Just north of the stunning Campsie Fells there is another range of hills, not quite as high, called the Fintry Hills. Sure enough, this being Scotland, the presence of a wind farm in the vicinity goes without saying, but this one (Earlsburn) has a funny story attached (hilarious stuff!). The locals actually requested another wind turbine be added so they too could create their own “clean, green” energy. Ah, bless!

AS ALWAYS, the hopes, dreams and fantasies of the locals are reported in great detail when the scheme is launched, but then everything goes quiet and that’s the last we ever hear of it. Did it do what they hoped it would? It apparently made £140,000 in its first year (how exactly?), so only another £1,860,000 to go before the two million pound turbine has been bought and paid for in full! Fintry residents, I’m struggling to find out how well this venture worked. Anyone care to give me an update?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/may/10/windpower-energy

Just when all seems sweetness and light, sure enough there’s an ugly truth waiting to disrupt the celebrations: the death of another turbine worker, leading to serious questions about the Health & Safety of the operation. Turbine operators Nordex were ultimately fined for the H & S breaches.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-17828632

On my previous visit to Scotland, I was gobsmacked by the sheer amount of turbines stretched along the sides of the M74, describing what I saw as an “industrialised shit-hole”. I’m happy to report that there are plenty of unblighted areas across the rest of the country, so the picture isn’t quite as bleak as I originally painted it. But it does need critical thinking and a general improvement in service delivery to ensure no more turbine worker deaths, no more water pollution, no more blighted communities, no more scandalous damage to our moors, hills and rivers.

My conclusion is that wind farms can be superficially either good or bad, but there is ALWAYS an ugly side, only sometimes it’s not immediately apparent.

I’ll finish today’s entry with one of the very best blog posts I’ve ever seen. Just when I think I might have misjudged the wind industry, I read an article like this and realise I was probably right all along.

PLEASE READ AND SHARE THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE:

“Unsettling numbers of environmentalists fail to see that wind turbines are enemies of nature posing as saviors…”

Read on…

https://evilnoisypeople.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/windturbineslandscapes/am

And finally, let’s timewarp back to 2002, when I, like many others, was full of hope for the possibilities of wind power. The Centre for Alternative Technology was an amazing place to visit. Even now I think their aims are largely fine. My problem lies with the unintended consequences of poorly planned and implemented commercial wind power schemes, and their emotional and psychological impact on humans, animals and wildlife. I’d like to think the cool cats at the CAT share my concerns!

http://www.cat.org.uk/index.html

 

Contents

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PEAK PROTECTION FORCE / SOUTH PENNINE PROTECTION FORCE SUCCESSES:

2017 – PINES BURN WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2017 – SCOUT MOOR EXPANSION REFUSED AT NATIONAL LEVEL

2015 – ROOLEY MOOR WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2015 – UK GOVERNMENT ELECTED ON POLICY OF REMOVING SUPPORT FOR ONSHORE WIND FARMS

2014 – GORPLEY WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

BLOG CONTENTS:

Exploring The Ethics Of Defending The Moors With Force

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/exploring-the-ethics-of-defending-the-moors-with-force/

Turbine Blight Between Leeds & Liverpool

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/turbine-blight-between-leeds-liverpool/

Wind Energy Is Worse For The Environment Than Fracking

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/wind-energy-is-worse-for-the-environment-than-fracking/

Dialectic In Action (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/dialectic-in-action-part-2/

Dialectic In Action

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/dialectic-in-action/

Christmas Peace & Goodwill

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/christmas-peace-goodwill/

The Importance Of Hearing Opposing Opinions

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/another-awkward-question-answered/

Kirklees & Craven Councils: Sh*tting On Their Own Doorsteps!

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/2966/

The Guardian: Sinister Propaganda & Fake News

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/the-guardian-fake-news-sinister-propaganda/

The Future Leader Of The Green Party

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/the-future-leader-of-the-green-party/

A Practical Solution: The Turbine Traffic Light Scheme

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/a-practical-solution-the-turbine-traffic-light-scheme/

I Was Born On A Marilyn

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/i-was-born-on-a-marilyn/

The SNP: Making English Eco-Vandals Look Like Amateurs

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-snp-making-english-eco-vandals-look-like-amateurs/

Leeds To Scotland & Back Again

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/leeds-to-scotland-back-again/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/doing-wind-badly-part-2/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 1)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/doing-wind-badly-part-1/

Doing Wind Well

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/doing-wind-well/

10:10 Climate Action EXPOSED

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/1010-climate-action-exposed/

Sustainable Development?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/sustainable-development/

Worldwide Wind Scams – Daily Update

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/worldwide-wind-scams-daily-update

Toxic Turbines Around The Dark Peak

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/toxic-turbines-around-the-dark-peak

Bananas vs Watermelons: Internal vs External Loci of Control

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/bananas-vs-watermelons-internal-vs-external-loci-of-control/

Awkward Questions Answered

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/awkward-questions-answered/

More Worldwide Wind Misery

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/more-worldwide-wind-misery/

Royd Moor, Spicer Hill & Hazelhead

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/royd-moor-spicer-hill-hazelhead/

Scammers, Malware & Trojan Horses

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/scammers-malware-trojan-horses/

Wind Blight @ Park Mill Lane, Ossett

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/turbine-blight-between-leeds-mansfield/

Turbine Torture Around The World

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/wind-torture-around-the-world/

Wind Blight @ Harper Farm, New Farnley

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/wind-turbine-harper-farm-new-farnley/

Hegelian Dialectic & My Local Wind Turbine

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/hegelian-dialectic-my-local-wind-turbine/

Welcome To MindWind

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/welcome-to-windblog/

Exploring The Ethics Of Defending The Moors With Force

 

Today’s adventures started with a trip to Manchester, retracing some of the steps I’d previously described in an entry last year: “Leeds To Scotland & Back Again.” Regular readers will know from my descriptions how the M62 offers extensive views of turbine blight for virtually all its length, in various clusters that together form one giant corridor of degraded countryside. I’ve also said again and again how Manchester itself has been heavily blighted by views of the huge Scout Moor wind farm to the north, definitely and unambiguously lowering the tone and devaluing vast swathes of the metropolitan area.

Like all wind farms – assuming one was brainwashed enough to start with a positive cognitive bias towards them, just as I was – Scout Moor’s appeal begins to curdle the longer you stare at it. After prolonged exposure to its incessant, haphazard spinning blade movements, the victim’s mood is affected adversely. Try crawling up the A576 from Cheetham Hill to Middleton: for most of the route the turbines are directly ahead, the only man-made objects visible on the otherwise open moorland plateau that reaches its summit at Hail Storm Hill, although the trig point is located a few hundred metres away at the ever-so-slightly lower Top of Leach. We’ll be talking about leaches shortly. Well, leeches anyway. Bloodsucking parasites that take more than they give.

Let’s look at the psychological impact of this for a moment. Instead of one’s eyes gazing from the labyrinthine maze of dark terraces towards distant vistas of wild hills (low mountains, really!), the wind farm acts as a man-made barrier to the natural world, like the bars of a prison cell. I claim this really does limit and inhibit a certain part of the brain’s activity; or rather, the higher neocortex functions are interrupted by fear responses. This is all low-level and subconscious most of the time, and one of the reasons for writing the blog is to bring it out of the shadows and into the light, to identify the root cause of the altered thought processes and to describe the symptoms in more detail.

If we do need wind farms, which I don’t think we do, Scout Moor and the South Pennines are eminently the wrong place for them, being such beautiful and remote uplands adjacent to such huge urban areas. This is a unique juxtaposition within such a small country as Britain (from Central Manchester to the sub-arctic summit of Kinder Scout is barely 20 miles) that it seems an act of criminal and dangerous destruction to have disfigured the surrounding peaks with so much inappropriate, mind-affecting wind blight.

Poor Heywood nestles under the shadow of the horrendous Scout Moor eyesore, as does neighbouring Rochdale. That would be bad enough for the beleaguered birthplace of the Co-operative movement, but just one appalling wind farm apparently wasn’t enough social injustice for the town’s residents; what they really needed to make them feel truly small, inferior and basically useless pieces of shit was another huge “gangster” wind farm in the shape of Crook Hill, plus countless single turbines dotted around in every direction. A drive along the A58 from Heywood into the centre of Rochdale offers views of all this wind blight, towering high above even the giant “Seven Sisters” tower blocks.

Sorry, Rochdalians, if I am making your historic, heritage-filled town sound like a hellhole. I actually love the place, and I’m on your side 100%. I love Rochdale more than some ex-residents, it would seem! Maybe you have to live somewhere to really get to know the downside, and Rochdale has not been short of social problems over the last couple of hundred years. But there is something admirable about the blunt-but-honest Rochdalian spirit – that same integrity which Abraham Lincoln noted, in relation to the townspeople’s solidarity with the slaves of the cotton plantations. Rochdale people are good, honest, hard-working and loyal, despite their sometimes gruff exterior. I have nothing but respect for them!

Rooley Moor proved one wind farm too many for the town’s population. They had already rejected Crook Hill, but Planning Inspector George Baird knew best, imposing the godawful wind farm on the residents of Rochdale without their consent and against their will. Where is George Baird now? Come out, come out, Mr Baird, wherever you are! I have a few questions for you…

How come all these Planning Inspectors seem to go very quiet when you try and locate them? Aren’t they proud of the great work they’ve done? I’m proud of my work, I go on about it all the time! And if ever I screw up, my boss has a one-to-one with me explaining where I went wrong. I apologise and move on. Don’t they operate like that in the Planning Inspectorate?

I’ve offered to come down to Bristol to meet the Planning Inspectors and have a good old chat with them, but they’re not very forthcoming. Surprising really, bearing in mind I’m more interested in town and country planning procedures than maybe 99% of the general public. I can’t think of many other people who sit there drawing up town boundary improvements for fun. Yes it’s highly Aspie of me, but it also shows a level of connection with the physical universe and its natural energies that seems to be entirely lacking in those who consider wind farms to be a good thing!

I headed north through Whitworth, the route I used to take when covering the Crook Hill construction. After Bacup I took the road that I previously described as making me feel physically sick, the A681 towards Todmorden via some of the most hideous wind blight of the lot, captured on video (see above).

WHAT ON EARTH WAS POWERING THESE WIND TURBINES AT 5:45PM ON THE EVENING OF MARCH 13TH 2018 WHEN THERE WAS NO WIND?

That’s the Freedom of Information request I have sent respectively to Rossendale (re Reaps Moss), Calderdale (re Todmorden) and Rochdale (re Crook Hill). I didn’t feel quite as physically ill this time, but I definitely wasn’t uplifted or energised by this high altitude landscape as I used to be, less than ten years ago. I was just puzzled as to exactly how these huge contraptions, supposedly powered by the wind, were moving when there was, in fact, no wind!

Halfway down the winding road towards Tod, I took an almost invisible left turn, just by the observatory, and headed on a narrow lane past the other side of Todmorden Common. Let’s not forget, these horrid, flammable turbines were built on deregistered Open Access Common Land.

What this means in real terms is that Coronation Power, a tax-avoiding corporation based in the British Virgin Islands, was able to buy up Common Land that belonged to the people of Yorkshire, in order for another corporation to to erect industrial machinery on the hills where ramblers and birdwatchers used to have free rein, all funded by global investment banks who smoothed the transfer of funds between all the different corporations. The Green Party and Friends Of The Earth were all for the bankers and bulldozers moving in, by the way, offering no support whatsoever to local nature lovers.

And you wonder why people vote for an anti-wind Conservative Party???

I don’t – it’s a no-brainer really. They are the only adults in the room at the moment. I wish there were others, I really do.

As if the cumulative blight of Todmorden, Reaps Moss and Crook Hill wasn’t enough, views of the otherwise stunning South Pennines across the Cliviger Gorge have also been destroyed by the unwelcome presence of the repowered Coal Clough Wind Farm.

Zigzagging down the twisty lane to the upper Calder Valley (that’s right, all this concrete, steel, paint and neodymium has been dumped at the head of the Calder, the same river that keeps flooding for some reason!), that familiar and predictable sensation of an amygdala hijack kicked in. What had started off as a routine trip back from Manchester had once again transformed into a political and cultural battle training mission. My thoughts as I travelled the A646 along the Calder Valley were dominated by the ethics of using force to remove the wind farms.

My starting point was this: “If we were to forcibly remove all traces of wind energy from the UK, what would the country be like?” I maintain it would be a better place without this most immediate threat to the health and well-being of our nature-loving residents.

One concern is that the past few generations have become disconnected from the natural geography of Brtain, which is mutually exclusive with both (a) environmentalism and (b) happiness. You can’t be truly green if you don’t love the ground beneath your feet. You can’t be truly happy either, if you are that disconnected from nature.

I believe the people of Britain have been too soft and casual about defending themselves against such eco-vandalism on an industrial scale. An armed population would certainly be more confident in protecting their natural habitats; therefore, in purely abstract terms, using firearms as a defensive tool would be the simplest course of action to protect our countryside. It would certainly be the most immediately effective deterrent to wind scammers – an organic line of defence against eco-destruction that would instantly incapacitate the invaders and protect the moors in real-time.

However, because homicide is currently illegal in the UK, residents are not encouraged to shoot wind scammers, no matter how tempted they might be. Instead this blog recommends wind victims use the force of law to defend themselves, despite the law itself in this regard having being corrupted during the late 00s by the then Labour government (the same government who a few years earlier had enshrined the right of the working man to wander the countryside). I personally feel ashamed that I took my eye off the ball at this critical time, not doing more to derail the wind farm legislation before it passed into law. As I say, I was brainwashed. We all were.

Still, the law can change, and that’s what I’m working on. I even explained in the previous entry the legal precedent for the policy I’d like to see: fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping is illegal. Why?

What is materially different between fly-tipping and erecting a harmful wind turbine?

Both are only of benefit to the ones doing it, offering no benefit to everyone else. 

So why aren’t wind turbines as illegal as fly-tipping?

“Oh but wind turbines lower emissions”… So does a contractor dropping his rubble off in a layby on the way home, rather than having to drive all the way to the dump.  Does that make it acceptable? Plus, as I informed Tesco: a firm’s carbon footprint would be ZERO if they simply shut up shop altogether. If you can’t get by without wind turbine subsidies, you have to ask yourself if what you’re doing is truly sustainable.

The Todmorden Turbine Fire:

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/wind-turbine-fire-todmorden-moor-9379970

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/wind-farm-fire-investigation-launched-9391391

http://renews.biz/89582/turbine-catches-fire-in-yorkshire/

Astronomers Fear “Ring Of Turbines” Around The South Pennine Moors

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/12897258.Astronomers_fear____ring_of_turbines____across_South_Pennine_Moors/

Todmorden Common Deregistered:

Very, very sad reading this and seeing the photos of what it looked like as recently as 2011. Do you want this happening to a common near you???

http://todmordenmoor.org.uk/docs/newsletterwinter2011.pdf

Let’s be honest and real: anyone who thinks these turbines are a good idea is elevating electricity over nature. That’s a valid point of view if you’re intellectually honest about it and prepared to say: “Electricity is more important to my well-being than nature.” But you can’t have it both ways – you can’t claim to be a nature lover and then approve of the destruction of natural upland areas for electrical generation, any more than is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Can we prove every single turbine within the Scout Moor, Crook Hill, Reaps Moss, Todmorden and Coal Clough wind farms is ABSOLUTELY necessary; that we’d die without them? If not, then they really can’t be justified on environmental grounds.

It’s not good enough simply believing in the general concept of wind energy; each and every individual turbine needs to justify its own existence with actual, real-life evidence of its proven service to nature.

So before supporting the construction of any more wind electricity generators in the countryside, just be honest with yourself about who you are deep down:

Are you a Techno Child or are you an Earth Child???

Elsewhere in the world, an excellent but horrifying account of how wind power has wrecked Germany:

https://climatechangedispatch.com/winds-false-promise-of-environmental-purity-high-price-to-pay/

The Totalitarian Roots Of Environmentalism:

https://www.encounterbooks.com/features/rupert-darwall-totalitarian-roots-environmentalism/

And yet another case of ACTUAL performance not living up to the sales-pitch:

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2018-03-12/wind-farm-blades-eroding-after-few-years-at-sea/

EDIT: A day later – a day filled with other, much more rewarding activities than deliberately surrounding oneself with eco-destruction, such as working hard in a busy retail environment, relaxing with good friends and listening to great music – I can read back at my angry words above with a vastly more relaxed state of mind. Hopefully the gallows humour comes across! But the intensity of the language IS the point: the writing is a true snapshot of the emotional disturbance caused by real-life exposure to the wind turbines documented.

If I came across as a loony…. BLAME THE TURBINES 🙂

 

Turbine Blight Between Leeds & Liverpool

jt4

It’s been over a month since my last blog entry, proof I hope that I only write when there’s something new to be said, never padding out this blog with superfluous words just for the sake of it. What with Storm Emma and the Beast From The East, it’s not been great weather for exploring the wild, upper reaches of the Pennines.

Since the government was elected on a platform of No More Onshore Wind Farms, that element of this website’s work is done (for now). Let us hope over the next four years, the wind industry is killed off for good, so that it can’t clamber back into existence!

I namechecked this blog in a debate on the Order Order blog, and was once again promptly informed by a contributor that I should seek psychiatric help! Well that’s the point, dumbo. Once again I’m two steps ahead… the whole point of the blog is to make the case that wind turbines harm my mental health, so calling me a lunatic only proves me right! As I said in the debate (more or less): “Fine, if I need psychiatric help, then blame the turbines. I’m telling you here and now they drive me crazy. The very existence of this blog is proof of the impact of wind turbines on my mental health. Calling me a loony on the basis of my written testimony merely confirms that these awful machines can indeed affect the mental faculties of a human being.”

Many, many other readers agreed with me. The vast majority of comments were in agreement with me that wind turbines are a pox upon this green and pleasant land.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I was again directly affected by wind turbines, hence today’s write-up. The journey: from Leeds to Liverpool and back again. I’ve already described the turbine blight near Leeds and along the M62 towards the Scammonden Viaduct. Sadly, two of the turbines that lost blades before Christmas have now been fixed. Grudging respect for getting them back up and running…harrumph! The middle of the three Daisy Bank turbines, however, remains sans blades, so still one down 🙂

The M62 also offers clear views over the Calder Valley towards Ovenden Moor Wind Farm, looking trashy and bedraggled. How depressing a view, looming over Halifax and Bradford and separating them from their nearest moors. Just before Scammonden you can even sometimes see the diabolical turbines of Crook Hill poking over the distant skyline. Luckily, the huge viaduct acts as a gateway to another world, and once safely through you enter the true wilderness. In good weather, you can traverse Rishworth Moor in barely fifteen minutes, but in bad weather, such as last week’s snowstorms, this section can trap motorists for hours on end, with Mountain Rescue and the Armed Forces drafted in to aid stranded drivers.

I was apprehensive about driving this stretch at 5am barely three days after it had reopened, but mercifully it was only rain that lashed down rather than snow. To the left, the mountainous ridge of White Hill lived up to its name, still largely covered in the white stuff; to the right the vast expanse of empty moorland stretched miles from Booth Wood to Blackstone Edge (via Cat Stones and Dog Hill). The junction with the A672 marks the high point of the motorway, with the distinctive Windy Hill tower dominating the landscape.

Motorways, towers, windy hills… what is it that makes the M62 across the moors a man-made work of great beauty and magnificence, dare I say it even “good” for the environment (in the sense that funnelling so much traffic onto one six-lane highway removes it from all the other roads across the tops). Maybe it’s the same reason why I prefer the concept of nuclear power stations to wind turbines. Let’s not piss about with dozens of small developments when you can just build a couple of turbo plants that do the same job? Using wind turbines is akin to still using the A58, A672, A640, A62, A635 and A628 as the main routes across the Pennines, rather than just selecting one corridor as our superhighway.

Maybe too if we just had one huge wind farm for the whole of Britain (even if it was the size of a whole county), that would be preferable. When Scout Moor was the only wind farm in the South Pennines, it was more bearable. It might have even won approval for its extension, had the surrounding moors not subsequently fallen victim to cumulative impact, which always happens once an area of unspoilt countryside has been breached.

So that’s one reason why the M62 gets a better environmental rating than wind farms – it’s by far the most efficient use of land to do an incredible job in improving the lives of millions and millions of people, every day of the year and in particular those winter months when all the other routes are impassable.

Yes it is true that when the M62 goes down, EVERYTHING goes down, that is one downside of putting all our eggs in one basket. If a nuclear power station we’re all relying upon goes down, then we really are screwed. So I get the logic behind spreading around the energy supply, it does offer what we call in IT “redundancy” (ie a backup that kicks in if the main system fails).

As always in life, there’s a happy medium somewhere. Clearly you need some kind of backup, but generally speaking it’s more efficient to have one central unit doing most of the work rather than having it spread around several generators. Imagine, for example, every component on your PC required a separate mains power lead: one for the graphics card, one for the network card, one for the RAM, one for the processor etc. You’d need 20 power sockets before you could even log into Facebook!

How does this Economies of Scale approach tally with my previously-stated preference for grass roots, “small is beautiful” developments, as opposed to top-down, centrally planned schemes then? How can I on the one hand claim to support localism and on the other hand advocate massive nuclear power stations over small turbines? Simple answer: there are no small turbines! OK, there’s a few micro ones which I don’t comment on simply because they don’t catch my eye, so there’s no issue. But essentially the turbines I call out are by their very nature too big – they have to be a certain size to “catch the wind”! My point is that even a privately owned wind turbine has a disproportionately large and negative impact on the surrounding environment. A single farmer and family could destroy the landscape for miles and miles around simply to meet their own individual energy needs.

Wind turbines are intrinsically too large to justify the destructive impact they have on our treasured landscapes. Any possible benefit an inappropriate wind turbine might provide for a single business is ALWAYS outweighed by the loss of amenity value for everyone else. Selfish.

Fly-tipping is the EXACTLY the same: good for the one doing it, bad for everyone else… and that’s illegal. So why aren’t wind turbines???

In aesthetic terms, I would make the case that the river-like ribbon of the M62 follows the contours of the land; hence the farm in the middle of the motorway (not, contrary to popular belief, because the farmer wouldn’t budge!), and therefore is more natural-looking, despite the amazing earthworks that were carried out. Before the Scammonden Viaduct, the land to the north of the motorway at this point was contiguous with the land to the south; now it has been bisected. Ditto, the Pennine Way footbridge that links Windy Hill with Blackstone Edge; before the motorway this would have been one continuous upland ridge. The junction with the A672 is possibly a bit over-engineered, but it does serve as an emergency escape should the motorway be blocked, with HGV drivers having to switch rapidly from motorway driving to windy A-road mode. Cattle grids stop stray sheep wandering onto the M62.

So environmentally, operationally and aesthetically I would say the calibre of engineering and technology behind the M62 is head and shoulders above the calibre of “science” behind wind turbines. Furthermore, politically and socially the M62 is of way more benefit to humanity, it’s there for everyone and owned by us all, collectively. It’s truly integrated into the landscape, with literally nobody opposed to its existence. Even the farmer in the middle!

Once over the county line into Red Rose country, we begin our rapid descent into the East Lancashire/Greater Manchester urban area. Literally the first thing we see, directly ahead of us, is the APPALLING wind turbine next to Ashworth Road, almost ten miles away, high on a hill, obscuring the Peel Tower and Winter Hill transmitters (more of which to come…) As Blackstone Edge falls away to the right, the horrific Crook Hill turbines can be seen looking as downmarket as ever, absolutely ravaging the otherwise stupendous line of peaks to the north of Rochdale. Even more blight lies beyond, with Scout Moor’s turbines transforming what should be the logical extension of the Dark Peak into a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic environmental horror story.

I ALWAYS feel my stress levels rising whenever I see these hideous, hideous turbines blighting the entirety of Greater Manchester. No wonder Manchester is full of social problems: the turbines make me for one feel stressed, aggressive, hostile and ready to lash out against those who enabled them. I’m well aware of the turbines’ impact on me, and the need to write this down clinically, with forensic attention to detail, rather than simply to act on impulse. But I do want the authorities to know that their turbines make me feel like attacking the people who allowed their construction. Not that I want to hurt anyone, but I do want them to know the distress they have caused, to the point where if direct defensive force was required to remove the source of the distress, it would be used. Fortunately, there are enough British people out there to vote for the one and only major party that seems to “get it”.

The most effective force of the lot is the force of law, and that’s my method of choice to bring about environmental justice.

I don’t care about any other political issue as strongly as I care about wind turbines, and I’d hazard a guess that most Wind Warriors feel the same. There is only ONE issue that makes the difference between who we will vote for or not: where do you stand on wind farms? Support them and not only won’t we vote for you, we will strive to ruin you and your shitty political parties. Oppose wind farms, however, and we will back you all the way. If Jeremy Corbyn could outdo Theresa May on opposing wind farms more vigorously, then he’d get my vote and win the next General Election, simple as that.

NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. A fish rots from the head down, so screw up the heads of our rivers and you’ll screw up the population, no matter what other policies you try and enact. That really is all there is to politics. The party that looks after the mountains is the one that really has the best interests of the population at heart. And if this sounds “lunatic”, you don’t know your social history. LEARN! Read about the creation of the National Parks. Study the origins of the Manchester Ramblers’ movement. Bone up on The Countryside and Rights of Way Act, passed as recently as 2000 by the party that went onto win by a landslide the following year (Labour!). This is not a right-wing or left-wing issue, it’s simply about how closely connected a political party is to the voice of nature at any given moment, and it swings both ways. If a party treats the mountains right, it’ll probably have more respect for the general public, that’s my maxim.

WIND FARMS CAN MAKE OR BREAK ELECTORAL VICTORY. TRUST ME ON THIS!

Back wind farms and get slaughtered at the ballot box. Oppose wind farms and win power to enact whatever other policies you want.

After the slog around Manchester towards Liverpool I only saw a couple of awful looking turbines far too close to the M62 for comfort, one particularly nasty looking one near Warrington.

The return journey was fascinating. Liverpool itself has a few unwelcome turbines in its docks, but at least this is an industrial area. I would imagine the turbines do bugger all other than act as a totem for the City Council’s green virtue-signalling. I headed out on the A580, and just before St Helens turned onto the B Road towards Rainford, the first real countryside east of Liverpool. A series of windy roads took me towards Orrell, via way of a very steep hill with more radio masts at the top. Orrell merged into Up Holland, separated from Shevington by the Douglas valley. Across the A49 at Standish, then more zigzagging around Blackrod to Rivington, Winter Hill’s presence looming nearer and nearer.

Everyone in Greater Manchester knows Winter Hill, even if they don’t realise they do. You can see the red lights of its huge radio tower from miles and miles away in every direction. It’s even more prominent than Holme Moss and the Emley Tower. Along with a few smaller towers, the giant tower has co-opted the summit of this Marilyn for business rather than leisure use. But the towers, though dominant, don’t have the same arrogant or intimidating vibe as the turbines. Winter Hill would be more beautiful without them, absolutely, but our whole approach to communications infrastructure is radically different and you can tell – there’s no free-for-all for developers to chance their arm on a get-rich-quick radio tower.

Immediately to the north and east of Winter Hill lie some of the most unpublicised, off-the-radar Pennine uplands, the West Pennine Moors. I took the fairly scary moorland road east of Rivington towards Belmont. Signs warning of “Ice” were everywhere, though it was early enough and the sun was shining for the surface of the road to be ice-free, just full of potholes. This is a great road though, highly recommended. It’s only when descending into Belmont that you see Scout Moor once again, and immediately feel your stress levels rising. Try it!

After Belmont I headed into a really gorgeous area of deep, dense forestry around the southern slopes of Darwen Moor. I crossed the “Devil’s Highway” (the A666) and headed down a narrow B-Road towards the unspoilt villages of Chapeltown and Edgworth. I say “unspoilt”: the villages themselves were lovely, but unbelievably planning permission had been granted for a truly disgusting turbine on the hillside immediately east of Edgworth. EUGH! By now I had been triggered with that familiar stressed feeling;

“IT MUST COME DOWN! THOSE RESPONSIBLE MUST BE PUNISHED. THIS IS THE UNACCEPTABLE BLIGHT OF A BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE! LET ALL CONCERNED KNOW YOU REQUEST THAT THE TURBINE IS DESTROYED FORTHWITH OR YOU WILL SEEK TO RUIN THE BUSINESS OF THOSE WHO’VE INFLICTED IT ON EVERYONE ELSE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT OR APPROVAL!”

Hence the blog post and little note to who I think are the proprietors (sincere apologies if not): get this, these muppets call themselves The Wellbeing Farm haha! They’ve driven me to write a thousand words outlining the negative impact of wind turbines on my mental health and well-being, and they have the chutzpah to call themselves The Wellbeing Farm! Hopefully my feedback on their website sets them straight…

By now feeling incredibly irritable, not helped by the knowledge that some spiv has their eyes on building another turbine on the beautiful Hoddlesden Moor to my left, I focused on the winding pass across this remote stretch of the West Pennines. Shortly I was presented with another ghastly vision: the repulsive turbines of the abomination that is the Hyndburn Wind Farm forming distinctly Satanic looking shapes and ruining what would otherwise be one of the most stunning views in the country – looking north towards Pendle Hill, the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales.

HYNDBURN WIND FARM IS SINGLE-HANDEDLY THE MOST UGLY WIND FARM OF THE LOT.

Sure enough I felt that recognisable turbine tingle drilling into my brain via my ears as I headed north towards the M65. Could it have been the Hyndburn turbines, spinning rapidly despite NO WIND?

Has anyone ever satisfactorily answered this one: how come 12 industrial size turbines at Hyndburn were spinning fast in ZERO wind? If not the wind, what else could have been powering them on Wednesday 7 March at 17:30pm?

By now on the M65 heading eastwards towards Colne, barely a few minutes after Hyndburn I spotted more industrial turbines at Hameldon Hill. Mercifully, Pendle Hill and Boulsworth Hill remain turbine-free, offering at last some unspoilt upland scenery to ease the mind and bring back a semblance of natural equilibrium to the landscape.

The final sighting of the day took me back to the very roots of this blog, that fateful day on February 1st 2017 when I first spotted the Jaytail Farm wind turbine under construction (the “star” of this blog’s avatar photo!) Little did I know that my initial complaint to Bradford Council about this turbine would lead me on a journey that would wind up with this blog. You get your first glimpse of this turbine from the west as you head down the eastern side of the Pennine watershed near Cowling. Once in sight, it dominates the view as far as Keighley, directly in the line of vision of the A629.

IF YOU NEED ANY PERSUASION OF HOW BAD WIND TURBINES CAN BE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, PLEASE DRIVE ALONG THE A629 FROM CROSSHILLS TO KEIGHLEY, THEN GET BACK TO ME. 

YOU DO NOT HAVE A VALID OPINION ON THE TOPIC UNTIL YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED THE HORROR OF THE JAYTAIL FARM WIND TURBINE FOR YOURSELF.

DO IT. GET ONTO THE A629 AT CROSSHILLS AND HEAD TOWARDS KEIGHLEY. THEN TALK TO ME.

Suffice to say, the whole day’s travel provided more than enough material for an action-packed blog entry and more first-hand evidence of how wind turbines have affected my mental health and wellbeing!

The Wellbeing Farm:

I’ve read through your website and I really wish I could endorse your business. As a veteran Wedding Disco DJ, I have nothing but respect for good wedding venues, and all-in-all your venture looks genuinely impressive. SO WHY RUIN IT ALL WITH THE STUPID, UNNECESSARY WIND TURBINE BLIGHT? How does it help your business? Are you aware of how badly your turbine blights the landscapes of the Blackburn Community Forest, the West Pennine Moors, Holcombe Moor and Cheetham Close, plus the conservation areas of Edgworth, Chapeltown and Turton Bottoms? Do you not feel the turbine has “bad karma” and needlessly causes stress and antagonism to everyone else in the vicinity? Would your business suffer too badly were the turbine to be quietly decommissioned one night?

Tell you what: remove the wind turbine and I’ll DJ for free at your next six wedding bookings 🙂 Do we have a deal?!

 

 

Wind Energy Is Worse For the Environment Than Fracking

Derrick

ch13b19.jpg

I don’t really need any more words, the pictures say it all. OK, the first photo is a “what-if” mock-up I found on the Frack Free Ryedale website; the second is a real photo I took myself. As I have written repeatedly, I am not saying for one moment that fracking is without problems, or that it should be approved left, right, and centre, against the wishes of local communities.

All I am saying is: whatever problems fracking has, wind energy has the same problems multiplied by ten. If you’re just discovering some of these issues for the first time, well us Wind Warriors have already been through all this, with a fraction of the support from so-called “environmental” organisations, who have proven to be as much use as a sick headache.

Aesthetically at least, I can make the logical case that fracking is less harmful to the environment than wind power. If the photo above is anything like accurate, well the fracking wells look like nothing more a couple of fairground rides! They don’t alter the skyline or general shape and feel of the countryside at all. The red paint isn’t ideal, but it’s no worse than the sickly white paint of the turbines; it’s not artificially high-visibility or in any way in opposition to the surrounding colours. The well towers are in keeping with the basic physics of nature, tapered and peak-shaped,  rather than the “upside down”, top-heavy, creepy-looking appearance of turbines. Fracking’s land take is significantly smaller than wind energy’s, with the ability to generate dozens of times the energy a wind farm can generate in the same space, 24 x 7 to boot, as opposed to stopping and starting with the breeze.

What about other environmental problems associated with fracking? Well, anything to do with the construction of the wells has to be matched against the construction of huge wind turbines (taller than the Blackpool Tower in many cases) and their foundations. These fracking wells look barely a couple of storeys high. Any complaints about HGV access tracks – ditto, nothing we haven’t already suffered. I’ll wager there are more trucks involved with a wind farm than a fracking site, to transport all the components of these Blackpool Tower-sized monstrosities.

Water pollution? We already have that. Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow has been accused of polluting the local water supply. And ask the residents of Whitworth who fell ill after arsenic entered the food chain following the construction of Crook Hill Wind Farm. Animal deaths? Check… also at Crook Hill, where seven cows mysteriously died. Risk of landslides? Check… Derrybrien Peat Slide in Ireland.

I challenge people to name one eco problem associated with fracking that you don’t get equally, if not worse, with wind energy.

That doesn’t mean all the things about wind power that piss me off don’t also apply to fracking, far from it. If I don’t like the Planning Inspectorate overruling local sentiment to force through a wind farm against people’s wishes and without their consent, then equally I don’t like them forcing through a fracking site anywhere people don’t want it. I’d rather keep the corporations out of the countryside and allow local communities the final say in the shaping of their landscapes. I know the North York Moors relatively well, albeit nowhere near as the Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales, and it is a beautiful part of the world that really should be looked after with the utmost of care and attention.

Still… I don’t know. When I stare at the picture above of how fracking would impact on the landscapes of the North York Moors, all I see is a small funfair coming to town for a few weeks. Whereas when I stare at the picture of the wind turbines, all I see is the earth’s energy being sucked out of it by sinister, vampiric-looking totems of darkness. I know this runs counter to the conventional wisdom of most of the 20th century eco movements and all their propaganda, but I can only say what I see and how my mind interprets it.

Fracking to my eyes looks efficient and relatively harmless, aesthetically not too out-of-keeping with rural landscapes; whereas the wind turbines look toxic, dangerous and totally out-of-place.

I should imagine that virtually all Wind Warriors agree with me about the negative impacts of wind energy, although there will be some debate about how strongly people support fracking. Some Wind Warriors are as equally opposed to fracking as they are Big Wind, whereas others believe we are screwing ourselves up in the long run by not forging ahead with it now. I’m on the fence about the long-term sustainability of fracking, but I’m interested to give it a fair chance. And that’s because every time I encounter fracking in real life, it seems to be something of an unfairly-maligned energy solution whose bark is worse than its actual bite; whereas every time I encounter wind turbines I feel cheated somehow, like they’re promising to give me loads of energy and instead are leeching it out of the Earth.

Personally I’d rather they fracked in my back garden than stuck a wind turbine up even a mile away from me. I’d even go out and take the frackers a nice cuppa and a tray of biccies 🙂

That said, anyone who’d go as far as setting up a website and a blog documenting the impact of fracking on their well-being, complaining about unfair and divisive planning decisions, underhanded corporate tactics and the industrialisation of the countryside…well, anyone who’d do that is probably a kindred spirit of mine deep down, aren’t they?!

Welcome to my world 🙂

I’ll round up today’s entry with more stories about wind energy from my news feed over the last few days. Posting a link doesn’t mean I automatically agree with every word in it, that’s up to you to make up your own minds.

https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/mobile/wind-turbine-breaks-in-half-in-chatham-kent-1.3766991

(How often do fracking wells snap in half?!)

http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/new/us-windfarms-kill-10-20-times-more-than-previously-thought.html

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/19/press-ganged-how-the-wind-industry-hijacked-the-media-to-peddle-its-fake-news/

https://www.thegwpf.com/its-all-over-german-parties-agree-to-scrap-legally-binding-2020-climate-target/

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/latest-lawmaker-suspects-wind-industry-spying-case-52419115

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/16/uk-green-energy-investment-plunges-after-policy-changes

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/17/ontarios-wind-power-obsession-punishing-thousands-390000-families-struggling-to-pay-power-bills-58000-disconnected/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/15/true-staggering-cost-of-intermittent-unreliable-wind-power-unplugged/

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/01/the_green_empress_has_no_clothes.html

http://notrickszone.com/2018/01/16/another-german-offshore-wind-park-loses-millions-as-installation-costs-soar-wind-forecast-overestimated/#sthash.EyceB0rO.dpbs

http://idiocyofrenewables.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/3200-mw-of-nuclear-power-22116-mw-of.html

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/16/smoking-gun-research-proves-inaudible-pulsing-wind-turbine-noise-direct-cause-of-adverse-symptoms/

https://stopthesethings.com/2016/12/17/irish-high-court-finds-wind-turbine-maker-liable-for-noise-nuisance-7-irish-families-to-get-millions-in-punitive-damages/

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/fined-51000–having-loud-14156575

(Nice one Kirklees!)

 

 

 

Dialectic In Action (Part 2)

The main bulk of this entry will be the continued discourse from below-the-line in the previous entry, brought up here for easier reading. There is a LOT to take in. I hope the conversation provides a useful reference point for both fans and foes of wind power, both sides of the debate given a thorough airing. Enjoy!

Just a quick paragraph about the unbelievable scenes at Scammonden over the past few weeks, all captured on camera. The timeline is approximately as follows:

Mid October 2017: “Toxic Turbines In Kirklees” filmed from Scammonden Viaduct, focusing on Daisy Lea Farm, Marsden Gate and M62 turbines. Official complaint letter sent to Kirklees Council.

Late October 2017: Scammonden Viaduct turbine filmed with no blades. Unknown whether accidental damage or planned maintenance.

November 2017: easternmost of three Daisy Lea Farm turbines filmed undergoing maintenance.

Early January 2018: Marsden Gate gate filmed with no blades. Accidental damage.

Mid January 2018: middle Daisy Lea Farm turbine filmed with one blade missing. Unknown whether accidental damage or planned maintenance. Scammonden Viaduct turbine blades reinstated and spinning rapidly. Outer Daisy Lea Farm and M62 turbines totally stationary.

Giving this scenario the best possible “spin”, only one of the turbines has been proven to be faulty. Two others have been filmed without blades, but it’s possible this was planned maintenance. A fourth was filmed undergoing maintenance, unknown whether routine or a break-fix. I can’t explain how come one turbine was filmed spinning rapidly whilst all the others were stationary, unless they were switched off for some reason. It certainly didn’t seem very windy.

The worst possible spin: between them, the turbines at Scammonden take it in turns to malfunction, with a new fault developing pretty much every other week. This reduces the output of the turbines and increases their carbon footprint. Is this disruption monitored and measured?

Just before handing over to the debate, there’s been a few items in my newsfeed over the last few days. First up, none of than Jeremy Corbyn’s big brother Piers has tweeted the following: “‘Scotland Set 2 Be 100% Renewable in 2Yrs’ LOL this is TOTAL DELUSION! FACT: If was 100% &c powered thousands would have died this by . -backed-

https://twitter.com/Piers_Corbyn/status/951994638977716224

Wonder if Jeremy agrees or not. To be fair, I once met the brother of an eminent female MP at a dinner, and he seemed to think his sister was totally bonkers, so it’s entirely plausible that Jeremy disagrees with his brother’s views. Equally, however, it’s possible that deep down Jeremy feels the same way. Let’s not forget that Piers enthusiastically backs “JC 4 PM”, which strongly implies that Piers believes Jeremy would shift away from what he considers the “mentally defective” “delusion” of “fakegreen”, “fakescience”, 100% renewable energy.

It’s also been gratifying to learn that hundreds of people I’ve never met, who reside thousands of miles away from me on the other side of the ocean and have presumably not read a single word I’ve written, just happen to perceive wind energy projects exactly the same way I do!

http://en.friends-against-wind.org/news/rural-america-rejects-big-wind

Right, over to the discourse. If you remember, I was being challenged (finally!) by someone prepared to step up and make the case for wind power, or at least to set straight some of the factual inaccuracies I might have thrown at the industry. I apologise to anyone I might have misrepresented, but as I have explained throughout the blog, indeed in its very tagline “Monitoring The Impact Of Wind Turbines On Mental Health”, any irrationality on my part is blamed entirely upon the turbines! My thesis has been that the turbines affect my mental health by triggering an amygdala hijack, in which my brain is flooded with “fight or flight” chemicals. The fight response is reflected in the aggressively defensive rhetoric, aimed at getting the wind companies to back off, and for neutrals to spring to my defence.

Keeping mental health in good shape means critically thinking about our kneejerk instinctive reactions, and applying logic to put the perceived threat into some kind of perspective. As the higher thinking starts to sink in, the immediate threat subsides and more considered solutions can be implemented.

In my case, the government’s current bias against onshore wind power has mercifully provided me with some time to stop, think and consider the threat I have just experienced. How different things seem from just three short years ago, when I embarked on my “Crook Hill Eco Disaster” blog in a radically different political climate; an era that seems almost antediluvian now in its across-the-board support for seemingly unlimited wind farms. But, halfway through the construction of Crook Hill Wind Farm, I was there to witness and chronicle “The Week The Wind Changed”.

Now the immediate threat of any more unwanted wind farms encroaching upon the Peak and the South Pennines has receded (temporarily at least), I have felt less under attack and more able to dispassionately look at what just happened to me and my sense of well-being. I cannot stress enough just how profoundly my personal sense of equilibrium was knocked out of kilter by the South Pennines wind farms. The blog is a testament to that. The dialectic you are about to read is all a vital part of working towards a solution.

Let’s crack on then, with Phil H on hand to provide balance, and to put into perspective some of my more paranoid reactions triggered by the wind turbines. Any allegations against wind energy he has not been able to answer or debunk remain valid objections worthy of further investigation. There’s significantly fewer of these than when we started, but there are still a few questions that remain unanswered!

Maybe you, dear readers, might have some suggestions of your own. Feel free to join in the chat!

PHIL H

This of course is the entire raison d’etre of wind farms, to contribute to lower CO2 emissions.

Well, for me, their purpose is being a way of generating electricity long-term, when there is no longer enough burnable stuff to power our country. That they produce much less CO2 than burning fossil fuels is just a side benefit.

Do we have any quantifiable evidence yet of how much less CO2 we are now emitting as a result of wind energy?

The UK’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions have fallen about 43% from the 1990 base-line year to 2017. This includes things other than CO2, but CO2 reduction is by far the largest component. The growth in wind power and other renewables is a significant part of the CO2 reduction. How much CO2 has been saved depends on what you think the alternative would have been in a parallel version of UK where things were done differently:
* If we had built and used more low-carbon generation (solar, hydro, nuclear) instead, then the wind energy would have made little difference.
* If we had run our gas-fired power stations more instead, then last year’s 37 TWh [my estimate] of onshore wind energy saved over 15 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2.
* If we had run our coal-fired power stations more instead, then it saved over 30 Mt of CO2.
(For comparison, the UK’s total GHG emissions was about 450 Mt of CO2 equivalent. Offshore wind was about ¾ that of onshore, in addition. So if our onshore & offshore wind had been replaced by coal, our total GHG emissions would have been about 10% higher last year.)

Sustainable

The word in the context of energy systems means ‘is usable very long-term / indefinitely’. You’re seeming to use it to mean more like ‘constant’?

What changes were made in 2015.As you can see from the tables athttps://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/fit/fit-tariff-ratesin mid-Jan 2016, the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for turbines of 100 – 500 kW was halved. I think this is just the size range made by Endurance, and that thus the financial cases for their potential customers were slashed at a stroke, and with only six months warning, so that many orders would have been postponed or cancelled.

Subsidies

Virtually all energy has received and continues to receive various subsidies, directly and indirectly. Nuclear energy took vast amounts of governments’ money to develop over decades – I can’t quantify how much, as I doubt anyone has kept a tally. But it’s reasonable that governments invest in developing such a new means of energy production, as it has the potential of being of huge long-term benefit to the country and all its citizens. Similarly for renewable energies, where the development has been mostly done by companies and individuals, but supported through subsidy payments, rather than the government doing the work directly. The Renewable Obligation, FiT and CfD schemes were started with the intention of reducing the subsidies over the years, as the renewable technologies benefited from economies of scale and their learning curves. That the industries are now talking about unsubsidised solar farms, onshore wind farms, and now even offshore wind farms, shows that the plan is working, no thanks to the sharp & sudden changes in the support schemes by the government. Contrast this with nuclear, where despite all the money spent on it over the decades, electricity from the next generation is still set to cost twice its wholesale value.

…wind farms were owned and operated by the public sector.

This would have the advantage of much lower costs for borrowing the money to build them, improving their economic case, so resulting in more onshore wind being economically viable.

Corporate Not Community … Control.

There are cooperative groups that propose and build wind turbines, and other renewables, usually based on mostly local membership, so that such facilities are thus owned by and financially benefit the community in which they’re located. Would you feel differently about the visual intrusion and harm to the land caused by a given wind turbine if you knew it was owned thus, compared with if you knew it was owned by a foreign multinational energy corporation?
is it morally right that a private company receives subsidies from the government?If they’re doing what the government and society want, and would not do so otherwise, why should they not be rewarded reasonably?
At what point should a product stand on its own two feet without the need of assistance?A good question. Compare and contrast renewables and nuclear (see above).

M6(Toll)

The difference from onshore wind farms is that the M6(Toll) was proposed and designed by the government, which then got a company to finance, build & operate it. Onshore wind farms are proposed from the start by companies, and the authorities just react to the proposals. (Offshore wind farms are somewhere between the two.)[Aside: I get the impression from the news, that the M6(Toll) has not lived up to traffic forecasts and is presumably losing the company money – so companies may be more hesitant about building public roads in the future.]

Confusing Use Of Statistics.

I don’t know how the carbon figure was arrived at. Do they mean carbon or carbon dioxide?Good questions. Let’s check their figures, starting with the homes equivalence, as you correctly did: 7,500 kW * 24*365*0.25 = 16,425,000 kWh/yr. At about 4,000 kWh/yr per home, that’s about 4,000 homes. Check!
If 16,425,000 kWh save 8,475 tonnes, that’s about 530 g of CO2 per kWh – burning gas releases about 400 g(CO2)/kWh and coal about 800 g(CO2)/kWh, so being within that range the 530 figure seems about right. More accurately, it implies that each kWh of wind energy displaces ¾ kWh of gas-derived electricity and ¼ kWh of coal-derived, which is roughly the ratio actually used in the UK in 2016. Check!
Confusingly, weights of both carbon and carbon dioxide are used for carbon dioxide pollution; they differ by a factor of 3.7. We can see that their calculation must be referring to carbon dioxide, but the quote uses the term ‘carbon’.

PEAK PROTECTION:

(1) CO2 emissions. No reason to challenge any of your sums here. I think the question is therefore, would other forms of energy generation contribute more efficiently to lower CO2 emissions? What is the opportunity cost of relying so much on wind at the expense of R&D or investment into other forms of renewable energy? How long do you estimate it takes wind farms to pay back their own carbon footprint? Do we keep track of all their construction and maintenance carbon emissions, factoring the “cost” of wind farms into our calculations. And, as always, are the figures independently and objectively audited, to ensure that every wind farm is operating sufficiently? If it could be proven that a wind farm had really not contributed to lower CO2 emissions, especially if failing to meet its claims, do you agree that it should be penalised for false advertising?

(Would punishing or even getting rid of the bad wind farms in fact help the good ones? A bit of pruning and rationalising of the wind farm network, like the Beeching rail cuts?)

(2) My definition of “sustainable” is the Oxford dictionary definition (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/sustainable): “Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level”. It does the wind companies no favours to redefine words, because those of us who are sticklers for semantics will only pick holes and lose trust in any use of words that seems misleading or distorting somehow. I think “sustainable” is entirely the wrong word to describe wind energy, due to its ups and downs, and as such I class this usage as another example of “greenwashing”. It’s not my major issue with wind power, but it’s another way in which the industry’s reputation for slippery untrustworthiness could be improved: stop playing with words and misusing the English language!!! I prefer the term “intermittent” as a more accurate description of how wind energy works.

(3) Feed-in Tariffs. Please don’t feel under any pressure to reply Phil, as you can see I am truly grateful for your contributions and am making every effort to give your words high billing so people can read them for themselves. But if you don’t mind elaborating, it might be helpful to explain to people exactly how these tariffs work. Am I right in thinking they are basically payments from public funds to those who generate electricity from renwewables? Why should members of the public be bothered by a tightening of the public purse? Couldn’t the money saved from halving FiTs be better spent on the NHS or Disability Benefits?

http://www.fitariffs.co.uk/FITs/

(4) Subsidies. At the 2015 General Election, the two largest political parties had different policies regarding wind power subsidies, and the party that wanted to bring them down won, with the party that wanted to keep them high losing. Why do you think that was? Ditto, in America, the more anti-wind of the two parties won decisively (not even getting into a Trump conversation here…I’m more interested in the psephology). Subsidies for wind farms are NOT an election winner. Why do you think that is?

I for one think the overload of wind farms has meant people have lost sympathy or support for subsidising them any further. The term “subsidy junkies” is often used to describe people who set up wind farm businesses based on the very model of government support funding them rather than what I would deem “an honest profit”, like the company I work for. Satisfied customers voluntarily choose to buy our products, with no support from public money required. the idea of wind companies being “subsidy junkies” might just be public perception, but it’s a perception based on multiple examples of wind companies appealing and appealing until they get their way, riding roughshod over local concerns.

I’m personally not in favour of my tax money being used to fund wind energy companies.

(5) “Corporate Not Community … Control”

Would I feel better about wind farms being community-owned? Yes I would. 500% better. Because then I’d know that the wind farm was integrated into the local community, at its request and with its consent. I think there’d be better aesthetics and ethics associated with community wind farms, less divisiveness and more attention to the environmental impacts on the neighbourhood.

(6) “Is it morally right that a private company receives subsidies from the government?
If they’re doing what the government and society want, and would not do so otherwise, why should they not be rewarded reasonably?”

I put it to you that they have not been doing what the government and society want, hence the cut in subsidies. Why would the government cut the subsidies were the wind companies providing a service they wanted? Therefore we need to look at where the wind companies have gone off track and understand how come they’ve lost the support of the government.

(7) M6(Toll) – now this is interesting. Maybe we’ve just stumbled across a key difference. You said: “M6(Toll) was proposed and designed by the government, which then got a company to finance, build & operate it. Onshore wind farms are proposed from the start by companies, and the authorities just react to the proposals.”

The problem is that companies will propose as many wind farms as possible to maximise profit. Left unchecked, companies could feasibly apply to build wind farms on every hill and mountain in the UK. Why not? Each hill is another opportunity to make profit! It’s not that I’m anticorporate, it’s precisely because I understand the corporate mindet (expand or die) that I’m so aware of what heppens if corporations are underregulated. By allowing corporations to tout for as many wind farms as they can possibly get away with, we have inevitably allowed some superfluous ones to slip through the net (even David Cameron acknowledged the public had become “fed up” with wind farms).

There’s also no increased standards through competition if a company gets to call the shots, and even choose its own planning advisors to provide the EIA reports – which is what happened at the Scout Moor expansion!). Whereas if each local authority had been assigned with the task of selecting a wind farm site and asking operators to tend for the contract, this would increase the incentive for wind operators to do a better job in making their schemes acceptable, instead of applying for a contract with no competition (other than from us proud NIMBYs!) and then having carte blanche to run amok as they see fit.

(8) Carbon / carbon dioxide

Another example of playing with words, or using confusing terminology. Yet again we can say “no harm intended”, but surely you can see by now, almost every claim made by a wind operator, whilst maybe not proveably deceitful, is still ambiguous and confusing to the general public.

PHIL H

Over the last 5 years, the UK government has commissioned a series of professionally-conducted surveys of the general public’s view of various energy sources (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656795/Wave_23_Excel_tables.xlsx – Q3, Q13 & Q12), which have consistently shown support:opposition for renewables in general at about 80%:4%, and for onshore wind specifically at about 65%:6%. Only about 1½% of people strongly oppose onshore wind. Even, those who would be happy:unhappy to have a large-scale renewable energy development in their area are about 57%:17%, ie far more YIMBYs than NIMBYs. Compared with the 52%:48% majority in the Brexit referendum, I’d call this level of support ‘overwhelming’.

(1) ‘sustainable’.
That definition makes more sense applied to physiology, than renewables’ output (what fraction of the maximum output is one wanting to sustain?). In the much-larger world of environmentalism (not just wind power), that this topic is part of, ‘sustainable’ has long meant ‘being based on non-depleting resources’. Can we agree to use ‘intermittent’ and ‘non-depleting’ instead, to avoid misunderstandings? (It’s a bit like ‘hacker’ has opposite meanings for computer scientists and the general media.)

(2) would other forms of energy generation contribute more efficiently to lower CO2 emissions?
‘Efficiently’ could have 2 meanings here: financially, ie cost; and physical resources expended. New onshore wind turbines are the cheapest form of new low-carbon non-depleting generation in the UK. They have a CO2 payback of typically a couple of years, and a lifetime of a couple of decades; you’ll have to research online the figures for other generation for comparison, as I don’t have a ready reference. There have been various independent academic studies of CO2 and other forms of payback – their results vary somewhat according to the assumptions used, some of which might be considered to be biased in favour of one form of generation or another, so take the average of several studies. As I explained before, there’s no independent tracking of the performance of individual turbines or farms, and the penalty for getting things wrong is losing their money. So I would guess that proposers would err on the side of underestimating output.

(3) Feed-in Tariffs.
FiTs are effectively top-up payments to owners of small-scale renewable energy installations, from which the value of electricity generated would not be enough to justify their capital cost, to encourage people to install them nevertheless, to kick-start the industries making and installing the equipment, with the intention that with the increasing size of the industries, economies of scale and experience will reduce the costs over time, allowing the FiT rates to be steadily reduced to zero over time (the scheme runs from 2010 to 2019). The money for the FiTs comes from electricity bills, rather than out of general or specific taxation.

As far as I can tell, the FiT scheme for small-scale wind, solar and other renewables together now costs around £1000m/yr, which is less than £20 per household with a matching contribution from non-domestic consumers. Of course this money could have been spent on the NHS, as could any other sum of money you can point to in the economy, such as the £1600m/yr spent on facial cosmetics, for example. But why should there be a choice? Each use of money should be decided on its merits. The FiTs help create a clean energy future, where the reduced air pollution from the reduced burning of stuff helps improve general health, lessening the burden on the NHS and the need to pay Disability Benefits, as well as reducing our energy imports.

(4) Subsidies.
2015 General Election…bring them down won.
I’d say it was a factor for less than 1% of voters, and they would be Conservative voters already. I’d bet there were more voters exercised by bringing back fox-hunting or grammar schools than cared significantly about renewable subsidies.

in America, the more anti-wind of the two parties won decisively.
Ironically, most wind power in the US is in the mid-west, esp Texas, which is mostly Republican territory, which is why the federal tax support for wind (and solar) ended up being untouched in the two budgets since Trump’s election.

Subsidies for wind farms are NOT an election winner.
Given the overwhelming public support in the UK for renewables generally and onshore wind in particular, discussed above, the only way I find that a believable proposition is in the sense that most voters don’t care about the topic enough to translate their support for wind power into their voting.

‘subsidy junkies’…businesses based on…government support funding.
What do you think of the subsidy dependence of nuclear power then, which should be a mature technology after more than half a century and uncounted billions of subsidies already? Hinkley Point C is only going ahead because the UK government has promised that British electricity bill payers will pay EDF, a company owned by a foreign government, a larger subsidy than is to be paid to offshore wind farms built in the same timeframe, even though offshore wind is only 15yr old.

I’m personally not in favour of my tax…fund wind energy companies.
It comes from your electricity bill, so you might like to minimise this, by improving your energy efficiency, eg by fitting LED bulbs, etc, and fitting solar panels to your roof to reduce the amount of electricity you need to buy in. You’re unlikely to live in a home that would benefit from installing a micro wind turbine [grin].

(5) Corporate Not Community … Control
Would I feel better about wind farms being community-owned? … 500% better.
[starts grinning again] Great. Here’s a suggestion for your next road-trip holiday:
* Duckmanton, near Chesterfield – a 500 kW EWT turbine on former colliery land, owned by Four Winds Energy Cooperative
* Shafton, near Barnsley – another 500 kW EWT turbine on former colliery land, also owned by Four Winds Energy Cooperative
* Haverigg, near Millom, Cumbria – a 600 kW Wind World turbine on a disused airfield, owned by Baywind Energy Co-operative; this is an early modern turbine, and the first in the UK to be owned cooperatively
* Harlock Hill, Cumbria – a pair of large, 2.3 MW Enercon E70 turbines, erected just last year (ie, receiving low FiT rates) on a site previously used as a community wind farm, by High Winds Community Energy Co-operative
* Watchfield, near Swindon, Wilts – five Siemens turbines owned by The Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative since 2008; now has a co-located community-owned solar farm
* Kellybank, Wemyss Bay, Scotland – a pair of 100 kW Norvento nED100 turbines, owned by Small Wind Co-operative
* Troed y Bryn, Ceredigion – a 180 kW Vestas V27 turbine, also owned by Small Wind Co-operative
and others owned by Dingwall Wind Co-operative (in Dingwall, Scotland), Wester Derry Wind Co-operative (in Angus, Scotland), Heartland Community Wind (in Aberfeldy, Scotland), Fetlar Community Wind (in Shetland) and many more.

(6) I put it to you that they have not been doing what the government and society want.
See series of surveys discussed above which shows they have.

Why would the government cut the subsidies were the wind companies providing a service they wanted?
In the early years of this decade, the government set an arbitrary limit on the total subsidies for renewables, but the renewables industries were more successful more quickly than expected, such that the total support scheme costs threatened to breach the limit. The government chose to reduce the support rates faster and less smoothly than intended, rather than raise the limit.

David Cameron acknowledged the public had become ‘fed up’ with wind farms.
The above-discussed series of surveys show that the level of general-public support for onshore wind has not fallen in the last five years that it has been polled, and remains overwhelming.

This level of general-public support is the ‘social licence’ that could be used to justify wind power and other renewables and their support schemes, and why I think you have a lot of persuading to do to change the situation. And is why I suggest that you need to develop a compelling vision of a better alternative as part of that persuasion campaign.

PHIL H

Oops: my part of the paragraph starting ‘subsidy junkies’ should not have been in italics.

PEAK PROTECTION

OPINION POLLS:
The flaw with the opinion poll is that it doesn’t show how support for wind farms drops the nearer you get to them, so sure, lots of metropolitan respondents who never seem them day-to-day will no doubt say they approve of “clean, green energy”, But as you get nearer you find levels of protest rise. So I would say more people like the abstract concept of wind turbines rather than the reality of living near them..

I would also say that the polls don’t show the intensity of feeling, so maybe more people only casually, half-heartedly like the idea of wind power (or tell an interviewer that they do), but those who oppose specific turbine developments will have much stronger, deeper feelings, and will be more committed and motivated to pursue their case in real life, not just in an opinion poll. OK, there are a few committed pro-wind campaigners, but looking at the wind farms near me that have aroused my interest in the topic – the real strength of feeling is always more anti than pro. This is absolutely the case with the Scout Moor expansion, Rooley Moor (rejected), Gorpley (rejected), Todmorden, Crook HIll, Carsington Pastures, Knabbs Ridge and Hook Moor wind farms. It’s also the case in every other wind farm proposal where the council has rejected the scheme only for it to be overturned.

Bear in mind it only takes a single Planning Inspector to overrule a rejection and allow a wind farm, whereas councils have to vote as a group. (You’ll maybe notice I left Ovenden Moor out of the above list, even though I personally hate the place, I do not deny that Calderdale Council approved it, and therefore at least a group of local representatives sat down and came to the joint decision to approve it. To me, there’s a difference there. Local people have decided they feel it’s best for their community. Although I disagree, I respect the process that led to this decision.

You have provided so much great factual evidence of good things about wind turbines Phil. which is fantastic, but you’ve still not come up with a definitive explanation for what it is about wind turbines that has such a negative impact on my mood (and clearly many other people’s, see this photo from today’s news-feed:)?

In some people, wind turbines trigger a very strongly negative physiological and psychological reaction. They de-energise us and makes us feel unhealthy and adversely affected by their presence. People calling us NIMBYs or insulting us (not you, for which I’m truly grateful…at least you seem interested to engage and understand!) is merely simplistic name-calling and victim-blaming, and doesn’t actually begin to address the nature of so many people’s bad reactions to them.

Nothing sticks in the craw more than when someone who’s never even heard of a “nacelle” glibly writes off our concerns or calls us stupid or narrow-minded simply for expressing that wind turbines adversely affect our mental state. People have every right to disagree with our opinions, sure, but they are factually wrong if they think our opinions haven’t been thought-through, or we are making things up, or if they don’t acknowledge the hours and hours of research and study most anti-wind campaigners have carried out to understand what on earth is going on. Our feelings of discomfort are not merely “back of a fag packet” prejudices, they run much deeper and are much more substantial, even if not always logically sound in how they are expressed (hence the need for dialectic, to systematically work through the points made, one by one, to see which ones hold water).

If wind turbines are as good as you make them sound – and by God, you do make a GREAT case for them! – then what do you think it it is about them that has such a strong negative impact on so many people, consistently, nay SUSTAINABLY, with every scheme proposed, and all across the world?

It’s good to rule out the factual untruths from my diagnosis of the problem, but the fact remains that for many, many of us we get a very bad physiological reaction from wind turbines and SOMETHING must be causing it. Bear in mind of the millions of words I’ve written in this blog, not to mention all the other anti-wind blogs such as Stop These Things and Mothers Against Wind Turbines. I’m not being paid a penny so have no ulterior motive other than to log this worldwide issue that I too suffer from, and to try to resolve it. The issue being: “when we encounter wind turbines, it negatively affects our mental health and well-being. WHY????”

Knowing that it does, shouldn’t we research what could be causing this reaction? Wouldn’t that be in the wind developers’ best interests? To understand what causes opposition to their schemes and to work to improve the product so that fewer people have reason to complain? Why is it that wind power seems to be getting ever more unpopular, not more popular?

A VOTE WINNER?

I’ve addressed this in the blog. I don’t think consciously many people would shout “wind turbines!” as their number one political issue, but I think subconsciously and as part of a wider cultural interpretation, wind turbines do tend to represent in many people’s minds the EU (maybe because of EU climate change directives), or in Scotland the SNP. Why did the Scottish Tories do so well, especially in Southern Scotland? “Because the SNP don’t listen” is an answer you find frequently. The SNP has also plastered loads and loads of unpopular turbines across Southern Scotland (see my entry for some real-life comments from Scottish residents). Here in the Pennines, there are a few noteable islands of blue surrounded by the red urban areas. Areas like Calderdale and Rossendale that also host the wind farms.

I’m not claiming causality, that the wind farms directly change how people vote. What I am claiming is some kind of correlation – those parties that win General Elections seem to be those that are the least gung-ho about wind power.

“Given the overwhelming public support in the UK for renewables generally and onshore wind in particular, discussed above, the only way I find that a believable proposition is in the sense that most voters don’t care about the topic enough to translate their support for wind power into their voting.”

Sorry Phil, I think this is the first time in all your posts that you’ve said something I find factually debatable. I simply do not see any tangible evidence at all of support for onshore wind in Britain, far from it, other than in very vague, low-intensity, abstract opinion polls on the internet, not in terms of large, populist, pro-wind support movements within local communities. In fact I see the opposite (David Cameron’s quote…) The reality is that the government has effectively banned onshore wind farms in England. Unless they were ideologically opposed to wind power, why would they risk alienating so many voters by pulling the plug on something they want, like and need?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Having disagreed with you above, I 100% agree about the need, and responsibility for each of us, to minimise our electricity usage and bring the total amount we use down as much as possible. The danger with relying on wind farms, and maybe why they have the level of popularity you claim they do, is that it’s quite an easy way of virtue-signalling without fundamentally addressing the root of the problem. “Oh it’s OK, I can leave my lights on all day, it’s fine, I support wind turbines and their clean, green energy, so I’ve done my bit, I can get on with my life…” I exaggerate for effect but hopefully you get the point. The danger is we simply carry on with our wasteful, consumerist lifestyles, albeit releasing less CO2 into the air, but losing our natural spaces in the process. Not the world I want to live in! I want to protect the uplands for future generations. Nature is more important than electricity in the long run. Obviously we live in the real world, I’m typing on a computer…but all in all I think energy efficiency is something I totally agree we should all be striving to achieve.

“and why I think you have a lot of persuading to do to change the situation”.

With respect, bearing in mind I have more or less got the policy I want from the government now, who do I need to persuade that we don’t need any new wind farms in the UK? The SNP maybe, and clearly the Green Party. I don’t even expect the Greens to drop their support for wind power, but at least a glimmer of emotional reaction to the degradation of our upland landscapes would be a start!

I do need to persuade people to closely monitor the turbines we have, to ensure they comply with their claims and that they don’t hurt anyone. But if anyone needs to persuade anyone of anything, right now I’d say it’s the wind developers who have to persuade the government and the public of the need for their product, because right now, in England at least, people aren’t buying it any more. They could do with more like you Phil, and less like Vickram Mirchandani of Coronation Power, who was run out of town by the locals!

“And is why I suggest that you need to develop a compelling vision of a better alternative as part of that persuasion campaign.”

Not necessarily, there is a role in society for purely exposing the flaws in a product, as long as the public balance the negatives with equal and opposing positives (hence me promoting your comments here, to provide that balance). My role so far has been as a journalist and blogger, highlighting the negative impacts wind turbines have had on my own sense of well-being, along with several other people who feel exactly the same. Simply giving more voice to these people’s feelings is a socially good thing to do, I feel. Now, were I a politician or someone who works in the industry, I may indeed go forward with more positive solutions and compelling visions.

Here’s the best I can do though Phil. Here’s 10 wind farms. How could we rank them? If I asked you to rate the value of each of these and to rank them from best to worst, how would you go about evaluating them?

CROOK HILL, SCOUT MOOR, REAPS MOSS, HYNDBURN, TODMORDEN, COAL CLOUGH, OVENDEN MOOR, KNABBS RIDGE, HOOK MOOR, ROYD MOOR

Whatever criteria we judge them on, my goal is the improvement of the bottom five wind farms on the list, with a Service Level Agreement of what we expect to be a satisfactory performance. Should they underperform, they should have the option of remedial action, or alternatively they should be decommissioned. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: get rid of the bad apples and that will improve people’s perceptions of the good ones.

In a way, the “compelling vision” thing might be part of the problem – because in reality things very rarely live up to the hype. True believers in a vision tend to be prone to confirmation bias in which they filter out data that contradicts that vision, We do need believers to innovate and invent, sure, but we also need sceptics and critics to ensure compliance and to drive innovation and product development by highlighting areas in need of improvement.

If I do have a vision it’s probably, deep down, the same as yours. A clean, green environment to live in. The debate isn’t about whether this is a valid vision, it’s about monitoring the real-life implementation of the vision and providing useful feedback about any issues encountered.

(From an IT point of view…, we don’t expect praise or compelling visions about the perfect IT network. We just expect feedback when there’s a real-life issue, which we try to resolve and add details to our Knowledge Base. My job in IT is as a troubleshooter rather than a visionary, and I’ve only ever seen problems when people come in with bright ideas that don’t stand up to real-life practice (my five years in the NHS showed me this happen over and over again,.., compelling visions that ultimately cause more harm than good!).

In the case of clean, green energy, I fully accept the vision, I just call attention to when real-life experience doesn’t match up to it!

Now, that said, I do have compelling visions about our interactions with the “countryside” (an interesting term worthy of a whole essay….what exactly “is” the countryside?) As I have said in the blog, the National Parks and the Green Belts are the political crystallisations of that vision, so as a troubleshooter my role is to log and resolve any issues that affect the integrity of our National Parks and Green Belts.

I therefore have the compelling vision of encouraging more research into what it is about wind turbines that impacts on our National Parks and Green Belts (I wouldn’t have been as bothered had their impacts not encroached upon the Peak District, not because it’s “MY” back yard, but because it’s everyone’s!!!!).

I have the compelling vision of removing any reported cases of turbine torture from people’s lives and restoring the quality of life to its pre-turbine state for everyone whose neighbourhood has become blighted and unpleasant.

I didn’t draw this cartoon, I’ve absolutely no idea who did and what triggered it. But someone did. Showcasing their art is part of my compelling vision – alerting the world to the fact that people are being hurt by these things and are struggling to have their voices heard.

Above all, my compelling vision is of a world where the tops of hills and mountains, and the pockets of open countryside between towns, are places to energise humans, free, beautiful and wild, open and accessible to everyone, monopolised by no-one. A world where the most honest and clear expression of Green values is one where as a society ensure we keep our countryside GREEN!

By the way, why on earth are wind turbines painted high-visibility white paint? What is the environmental benefit of this paint? Wouldn’t they have less harmful impact if the garish white paint was removed? Even getting this paint removed would be a small but significant improvement! These are the sort of workable tweaks that I think I can bring to the wind industry, small incremental changes that would all improve the end-user experience.

Some links from today’s news feed:

In The Shadow Of Wind Farms:

http://gatehousenews.com/windfarms/home/?skipintro=true

Petition: Stop The Production Tax Credit For Industrial Wind:

https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-production-tax-credit-for-industrial-wind.html

Turbine Failure (Germany):

https://www.tag24.de/nachrichten/nienburg-stadthagen-schaumburg-windkraftanlage-umgeknickt-windrad-sturm-burglind-412540

Turbine Failure (France):

https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/challans-85300/en-images-tempete-carmen-une-eolienne-de-bouin-s-est-ecrasee-au-sol-5480065?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook

Deforestation In Scotland To Make Way For Wind Farms:

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2018/01/02/huge-areas-of-forest-destroyed-to-make-way-for-7-wind-farms/

Infrasonic Frequencies:

PHIL H:

The Public Attitudes Tracker (PAT) series of surveys are conducted by an independent, professional polling company, commissioned by the UK government, from samples of over 2000 people selected at random by postcode, and interviewed in person. 2000 respondents gives a standard deviation accuracy of +/-2%, which is significantly more accurate than the typical political poll run by newspapers. This is precisely why I would put so much more reliance on it than, say, the set of commenters on your Scottish posting, who are a small, self-selected group found over the internet.

But as you get nearer you find levels of protest rise
There’s less protest if the turbine(s) is to be community-owned. So some of the protest is to do with the ownership and perception of ownership, rather than the turbine(s) per se.

the polls don’t show the intensity of feeling
The PAT surveys do – I’m trying to keep my comments brief, or it’ll become more my blog than yours. These are the approximate figures eyeball-averaged over the 5 yr of the surveys (2012-17). None of the categories shows a statistically significant trend over that time.
20% strongly support
47% support
22% neither support nor oppose, and don’t knows
8% oppose
3% strongly oppose
[My apologies for having misread the last category as 1½% previously.]

when we encounter wind turbines, it negatively affects our…
They don’t phase me, nor any of my family or friends, including those that live in rural northeast Wales amidst a number of turbines of various sizes scattered over the surrounding landscape. Indeed from the window of the B&B’s room that we usually stay in when visiting, there’s a picturesque view of a lone turbine on a hill in the near distance, Teletubby-like, which I like watching, and prefer that room for that reason.

Why is it that wind power seems to be getting ever more unpopular
The consistency of the PAT surveys over the years shows that the ‘opposed’ & ‘strongly opposed’ percentages have been stable with time. If you’re encountering increasing numbers of strongly anti-wind people, it must be because you’re encountering more members of that 3%, or they are becoming more active & vocal.

I simply do not see any tangible evidence at all of support for onshore wind

You could invest the minimum amount in the next wind-energy coop to be set up, and go to its AGMs and meet some of the hundreds of its members who believe in onshore wind enough to take part in building more of it and risking their money to do so. Of course they are making money from their investments, but they could make more, and probably with less risk, by investing in Shell or BP shares; and often/usually they will be giving up some of the money they could make to fund programs of local benefit. You might even be able to attend, as an observer, the AGMs of existing wind-energy coops – the nearest one to you is probably Four Winds. There are dozens of wind-energy coops in the UK, typically with a couple of hundred members each, that have been set up in recent years, so that’s growing numbers, in the thousands, of people who strongly support onshore wind without making their presence felt in public.

why on earth are wind turbines painted high-visibility white paint?

I don’t know. Many German ones are painted green at the base fading into white higher up, as are Ecotricity’s 2 turbines at Swaffham, Norfolk, which seems a reasonable compromise. White would be more visible to aircraft for daytime safety, though you identified one application for a grey-painted one.

rank them in order of most useful to least useful

Some combination of their capacity and capacity factor, preferably calculated before construction. With bonus points for being sited in a previously-developed area, and for being built on a site where the power’s to be used. Once built, it would be a waste of the expended resources to remove a still-functioning turbine.

Nature is more important than electricity in the long run.

If you’re seriously suggesting that the British population should put up with power cuts, and consequent freezing in the dark, in order to preserve British moorland landscapes, then you’re by far the deepest green person I’ve ever encountered.

who do I need to persuade that we don’t need any new wind farms in the UK?

Whoever you’re aiming this blog at? As well as expounding your personal reasons, you’ve also tried to corral some objective objections to wind power: some hoary old anti-renewable myths, and some interesting new lines of argument of your own. I’ve tried to show there’s little in these objective objections [thank you for allowing me the extended opportunity to do this, by the way]. But if you’d still like to bolster your personal reasons with objective line(s) of argument, if only as something of more interest for your readers, then I’m suggesting what I see as the most promising way to go. But it is, of course, your blog.

Simply giving more voice to these people’s feelings is a socially good thing to do

Sure. But I got the impression you wanted to change things as well, with this blog and in other ways.

you do make a GREAT case for them

I’ve not been trying to promote onshore wind, rather to explain why I think it’s the least-expensive, but second-worst, option for coping with the inevitable, and thus why there’s likely to be substantially more of it.

PEAK PROTECTION:

(1) Wind turbines affect some people, not others

I realise they don’t affect everyone, but they do affect some people drastically, this is undeniable. I’ve linked to dozens if not hundreds of articles by people who perceive wind turbines to have a negative impact on them. It’s unrealistic to deny that there are several people negatively impacted by wind turbines, for whatever reason. I’m interested in looking into these reasons. If someone says “I am suffering” I believe them, in the same way that if someone at work says their computer is broken, I believe them! Now the root cause maybe not be what they think it is, or it may even be something they’re doing wrong (which would be someone else’s fault really, for not adequately training them). Ultimately though, we never ever blame the client for any negative impact the computer system has on them.

It is a scientific fact that lots of people really, really do not like wind farms (over 2,000 members from all around the world in one of the activist groups I’m part of). Do you have any possible explanations why we feel this way? I have lots, which I’ve thrown out there to be discussed. There are the obvious things such as degradation of the countryside, corporatisation of open access common land etc, but there are others which might or might not be accurate, and are definitely worthy of further study. Eg infrasonic sound, shadow flicker, seasickness, epilepsy, migraines…who knows? I’ve testified in an entry that I came close to vomiting next to Todmorden Wind Farm, and had I actually thrown up I would have photographed it as evidence!

It would be equally wrong for me to say they affect everybody as it would were you to say they affect nobody. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle, with no simple Yes/No answer. SOME wind farms affect SOME people. So which turbines affect which people, in which way, and what could be the cause? If you look at my blog in the context of me trying to log and resolve this widespread issue which has affected me too, and persuading people of the strength of bad feelings wind turbines can cause being its original objective. Obviously as more people have read and engaged with my correspondence, I’ve reached out and taken the dialogue further. But it is a scientific fact that wind turbines negatively affect my mood and sense of well-being, with no prior bias against them, only in favour of them (right up until 2014). What do you think it is about wind turbines that drove me to post so many words, bearing in mind I have no hidden agenda of any sort, what you see is what you get. Why do you think I don’t like them? Why did that cartoonist draw them as instruments of Death? Why do so many of us hate them Phil? What do you think is the real reason we are affected negatively by wind turbines?

This is where YOU need a compelling vision Phil! Wind turbine advocates need to demonstrate real understanding of the adverse reactions to their products, and they need to come up with some solutions that reassure the opponents. You don’t do a bad job personally, but the industry itself needs to be more receptive to the fact that there are several people round the world who have a bad reaction to wind turbines. Even if they were to say, “Wind turbines have all these great qualities, but unfortunately they have these side effects on certain individuals.”, that’d be reality.

Once we’re all agreed on the fact that wind schemes are almost always opposed strongly by a sizeable and vocal contingent of the electorate, which I think the UK government is now, we can start looking into the issue of what’s upsetting them a bit more deeply. But whatever it is about wind turbines that triggers us, it is a real-life issue, I passed several on the road yesterday, with this blog in mind, and I still had the negative impact on passing them. Words and explanations don’t take away the physiological reaction I still have to these machines. they literally make me feel like my very life force is being sucked out of me, and I still don’t know why! I wish someone, somewhere would be able to explain it. All I can hope for at the moment is to be listened to and understood.

Let me break it down as simply as possible. Imagine two hills of equal height, prominence and topography. One gets a wind turbine stuck on top, the other doesn’t. Now those hills are no longer equal, so the first thing we can say about wind turbines is they increase inequality. The hill with the turbine on it has now been blighted, degraded and made less pleasant than the hill with no turbine, and I would no longer visit the hill with the turbine on it by choice. More than that, I would proactively try and avoid it.

This means the countryside has in the last couple of decades become divided between unblighted (positive quality) areas, which retain a high amenity value, and blighted (negative quality) areas, of little tourist, recreational or aesthetic value. The impact of wind turbines on a landscape is that they immediately and drastically pull the quality of the countryside down from “highly above average” to “deeply below average”. Kirklees is a case in point; degraded from “almost National Park” quality countryside to “industrialised toilet” in just a couple of dozen wind turbines. Residents of Kirklees, instead of having, say, a dozen hills to choose from to get their leisure, recreation, exercise and a general sense of health and well-being, might now find they only have five or six (the wide-ranging views of wind turbines having a negative impact on all adjacent hills).

Worst of all, if one lived in an area where there are only one or two undeveloped green spaces nearby, the erection of a single badly located turbine could literally remove all areas of unspoilt natural beauty from the entire district. The wind turbine at Jaytail Farm near Silsden is one such badly located turbine (thank you Brendan Lyons of the Planning Inspectorate, based down in Bristol, for knowing better than Bradford Council what’s good for the Green Belt around Keighley. Thank you for wrecking Ilkley Moor. The people of Yorkshire are really grateful to you!) The truth is, a vast area of countryside has been degraded by this single, intrusive and inappropriate turbine.

I mentioned ranking wind farms…we could also rank areas of countryside, on a number of criteria. The introduction of a wind farm into a landscape has a clear and mathematically proven impact on the desirability of that area, compared to an equivalent landscape with no wind turbines. To me this is a logical no-brainer, and even the Environmental Impact Assessments required as part of the planning process concede the impact of wind farms as “Negative”, or at best “Neutral”. I have literally never seen a single EIA that describes a wind farm as having a “Positive” impact on a landscape.

So it is very easy to calibrate the impact of a wind farm on a landscape, and to admit that the same landscape without a wind farm would score more highly than with it. Thus the problems occur when a local council, eg Derbyshire Dales, says the impact of Carsington Pastures wind farm, barely a mile from the edge of the Peak District, is unacceptable to them, but then a lone Planning Inspector like Mr Robin Brooks has the power to say, “Nonsense! People visiting the Peak will barely even notice it.” The weighting of Mr Brooks’ opinion over the Council’s decision is arbitary and unfair I feel, and it really does appear that this weighting has shifted back in favour of local communities. That makes sense to me, it seems pragmatic, logical and ethical.

When I look at the schemes I’ve been involved with, the support for the proposals is conspicuous by its absence in the community, Rooley Moor, Gorpley. Scout Moor expansion. Crook Hill. I could introduce you to dozens of people who have their own reasons for opposing these schemes. I’d barely be able to introduce to a single supporter of each. That’s just my real-life experience. (For example in a Residents’ Meeting at a crowded church hall in Rochdale, not even specifically about the wind farm proposal, when there was a show of hands amongst residents for who supported the Rooley Moor wind farm, not a single person raised their hands). Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale, even launched a “Not On Our Hills” petition against the Scout Moor expansion, which got 1,000 signatures. It was claimed by Jake that 97% of all respondents were negative towards Scout Moor expansion. Hook Moor near Leeds was rejected THREE TIMES before approval. Crook Hill was even opposed by the LibDem MP of the time Paul Rowan (the LibDems being incredibly pro-wind power as I’m sure you’re aware!).

I’m almost tempted to say: “Fine, go ahead and believe the opinion polls if you really want!” But because I respect you Phil and want your understanding of the world to be accurate, I will say this, don’t be complacent. Don’t think that just because a poll informed you people like wind farms, that’s a true and up-to-date reflection of reality and that won’t change, or hasn’t already. My real-life experiences lead me to believe the opposite. I think the wind industry is in denial if it doesn’t acknowledge the strength of opposition against wind farms, and as I want the industry transformed, or at least the bad apples removed, I don’t mind personally if wind companies react too slowly to the increasing opposition that will only do them harm if they fail to acknowledge it. I believe that 100%. Industries and businesses go belly-up when they ignore customer feedback and continue to think they’re more popular than they really are.

(2) Ranking Wind Farms

“Some combination of their capacity and capacity factor, preferably calculated before construction. With bonus points for being sited in a previously-developed area, and for being built on a site where the power’s to be used. Once built, it would be a waste of the expended resources to remove a still-functioning turbine.”

Yes good points. I’d also get feedback from the community. How has it affected you? If opinion polls are to be used as an indicator of popularity, then let’s get some opinion polls done on a more local basis. It’s not that polls are untrustworthy, it’s just down to the questions and methodology used. Asking random people what they think of something abstract will throw up different results from asking a specific community what it thinks of a specific project. Any wind farms that are outstandingly unpopular, or have very bad capacity factors, would need remedial action.

(3) Nature is more important than electricity in the long run.

“If you’re seriously suggesting that the British population should put up with power cuts, and consequent freezing in the dark, in order to preserve British moorland landscapes, then you’re by far the deepest green person I’ve ever encountered.”

I feel the moorlands are the very last places I want to see transformed into places of power generation. It should be done as minimally and sparingly as possible, literally as few wind farms as we can possibly get by with. I think we’ve already hit upon the root of the problem here, the old system in which the whole of England was basically a free-for-all for prospective wind developers to tout their wares, then the communities would say no, only for the Planning Inspectors overturn them. I’d rather see local communities draw up areas where wind development is acceptable to them, preferably as small areas as possible, and then say no to everywhere else. Again, method and implementation has been the problem. The sheer volume of successful planning appeals says there has been a mismatch between what local councils want and what the planners have wanted. This has changed though, in my direction! So I’m reasonably happy now.

(4) Debunking Anti-Renewables Myths

“who do I need to persuade that we don’t need any new wind farms in the UK?
Whoever you’re aiming this blog at? As well as expounding your personal reasons, you’ve also tried to corral some objective objections to wind power: some hoary old anti-renewable myths, and some interesting new lines of argument of your own. I’ve tried to show there’s little in these objective objections [thank you for allowing me the extended opportunity to do this, by the way]. But if you’d still like to bolster your personal reasons with objective line(s) of argument, if only as something of more interest for your readers, then I’m suggesting what I see as the most promising way to go. But it is, of course, your blog.”

You’ve done a great job Phil, you’ve transformed the blog for the better. I hope this proves the truth is more important to me than any anti-wind dogma on my part. It’s also a blog about the role of discourse and decision-making in terms of Policy & Impact, aimed at those who maybe didn’t even realise there were two sides to the wind debate. Regarding the accusations I’ve thrown at wind energy, sure, I’m the first to admit they won’t all hold water, but in all IT troubleshooting we start with the basics and then gradually get more complicated. Is it plugged in? Have you turned it on? Were you able to log in? We’ve started with the old chestnuts and then gradually refined our questions to more complicated stuff.

You’ve definitely helped me rule out most of the basic conceptual arguments against wind power for being the trigger to the negative reaction I have towards wind turbines. I had to ask, even if simply to rule them out. So what are we left with? Something about how the wind turbines operate, whether it be the look, the sound or the motion, or a toxic combination of all elements. Do some affect me worse than others? It can depend on the weather, and the proximity to the turbines, plus how long we are in their presence. Off the top of my head, the area around Todmorden, Reaps Moss and Crook Hill wind farms routinely makes me feel nauseous. The turbines near Sheffield/Rotherham visible from the M1 are very bad triggers. Ovenden Moor is bad. If, in the name of research, I had to pick a wind farm that doesn’t affect me too badly, well Knabbs Ridge near Harrogate is relatively inoffensive (despite losing a turbine in a fire this time last year!). I’d have to do more detailed research and analysis to say for sure though..

In summary, to me it’s quite good and interesting that we’ve been able to refute some of the more simplistic accusations against wind, because it means that whatever IS causing the bad reaction is clearly more complicated and worthy of investigation. The mystery is only increased by ruling out the false causes. The best thing turbine proponents could do would be to work with victims, with good intentions and mutual respect on all sides, to really get some objective truth on this matter. A more receptive approach from wind companies to the unintended consequences of their products would be helpful, and I would love to be involved in this research. In turn, I would be happy to concede that, done well, wind “can” work.

In terms of keeping a record of wind energy’s impacts locally, well I’ve managed to capture two faulty turbines in one village, both having lost blades within seven weeks. Even assuming everything you’ve said about wind power is true, a wind turbine without blades won’t be producing a single watt of renewable energy! Especially if the turbine maker is now bust. Two going down in one village over a couple of months isn’t a great advert for the sustainability of wind turbines.

(5) More Wind Power?
“I’ve not been trying to promote onshore wind, rather to explain why I think it’s the least-expensive, but second-worst, option for coping with the inevitable, and thus why there’s likely to be substantially more of it.”

Really? Not in England, over the next five years, anyway! Not near me, anyway, if I can help it, unless I am persuaded that it’s in my interests to support any such schemes. If it is the case that there will be more onshore wind power in England, there will be more people experiencing negative impacts from wind turbines, more division within local communities, more opposition from residents, more anti-wind art and culture. It will certainly give fodder for more blogging, that’s for sure!

Final comment: Phil, you’ve been a great sport and have personally contributed to shifting my stance, from the moment you joined the debate. My position is now to drop any attacks on wind power for “not working”. Other people will still pursue this line of attack, not me. You’ve persuaded me that wind power can work, albeit not the best solution, but it’s not intrinsically an out and out scam, sure.

I can now formulate a new synthesis: yes, wind turbines do generate a certain amount of CO2-free electricity, but unfortunately in the process, something about their operation triggers an adverse reaction in several people’s mental health and well-being. Possibly even (at a lower rate) everyone’s.

That’s where I’m at now, which is significantly different from where I was when I started the blog, only a few months ago.

The power of dialectic in action 🙂