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!
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?!