Lesley Griffiths AM – A Corrupt/Stupid Woman Who Despises Wales

0_minister-web

Regular readers will know that I have three Golden Rules: (1) the purpose of my blog is Education; (2) I don’t make personal insults, and (3) I always give people the right to reply, preferring two-way dialectic to one-way ranting.

I won’t be breaking any of those Golden Rules today, so when I kick off this entry by describing Lesley Griffiths as a corrupt/stupid woman, it’s not an insult so much as some rudimentary education for her: “This is what people think of your seemingly insane actions, Lesley.  You’ve made a decision so crass and illogical that the only rational explanation must be some kind of personal gain, ergo you have acted in EITHER a grossly stupid OR a grossly corrupt manner. Which is it? You tell me!”

You all know by now, my rhetorical brutalism is a method of helping wind scammers learn kinesthetically about the emotional impact of their actions. As always, Ms Griffiths has the right to reply and I welcome a two-way discourse should she wish to engage. Until I get any answers, however, I will refer to comments she has made publicly.

So why is Lesley Griffiths such a clueless halfwit/duplicitous fraud then? Because her recent behaviour has proven that she is STILL stuck in that pre-2016 paradigm, based on high-level politicians and bureaucrats feeling they have the ability to steamroller over local opposition: in this case virtually unanimous opposition to the truly vile Hendy Wind Farm proposal.

https://www.countytimes.co.uk/news/17010710.llandrindod-wells-hendy-wind-farm-gets-go-ahead-by-ministerial-decree/

NO, LESLEY, NO! It’s no longer the 90s. People aren’t fooled by the greenwash any more. Communities are more radicalised nowadays, ready and waiting to fight the wind scam with firearms and explosives, in order to protect their communities from unwanted wind blight. (Of course I’m not condoning illegal activity, just reporting that it occurs more and more these days).

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/09/some-wind-farm-protesters-are-radicalised-says-counter-terrorism-unit/

I can barely bring myself to type, so offensive is Ms Griffiths’ insensitivity to matters of the environment. To have this nauseating old hack pontificating about “green” “energy”, whilst at a stroke both trashing unspoilt green landscapes and de-energising thousands of Welsh residents, is a symptom of how badly awry the Labour Party has veered away from its pro-nature roots.

(Again, I stress, calling Ms Griffiths a “nauseating old hack” is not a personal insult, it’s a factual description that her words have literally brought me closer to vomiting than had she not said them; “old” refers to her tired, dated greenwashing spiel, and “hack” refers to her tree-chopping, planet-destroying policies. So these are facts, not insults.)

Let me provide some education: somehow Lesley Griffiths has a position of power within the Welsh Labour Party. She is the Assembly Member for Wrexham, and Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. Poor, poor Wales. It’s getting hammered left, right and centre by the wind industry, just like Scotland. Only England’s Conservatives are now, somewhat too late, standing up for this green and pleasant land. And England too would be under threat, should the post-Agenda 21, countryside-loathing Labour Party get into power, turning its back on all the good work the party did in the first half of the twentieth century. Labour’s more recent aim seems to make the countryside uninhabitable, to keep us all safely confined to the metropolitan bubbles.

I’m working on a full letter to John McDonnell, Labour Deputy, reminding him of the Communist roots of the rambling movement, a plea to the party to return to its pro-outdoors origins. Meanwhile, here’s some more information about Hendy Wind Farm.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45991694

Like many of these proposals, the site is on Open Access Common Land. EVERYONE – local communities, local councils, local conservation groups, even the Planning Inspectorate themselves, rejected the wind farm for the usual, perfectly logical reasons: unacceptable damage to the local environment, unacceptable impact on people, animals and wildlife, unacceptable harm to the health and well-being of people for miles around.

JUST ONE WOMAN – Ms Griffiths – had the sheer arrogance and total contempt for everyone affected to overturn all these people and approve the wind farm against their wishes and without their consent. Does Ms Griffiths enjoy plucking the wings of butterflies, one wonders? Is she the type of woman who enjoys sticking a cat in a microwave? Her actions certainly indicate the kind of person who derives perverse pleasure from torturing living beings.

How on earth can Ms Griffiths claim the handover of Welsh common land to a Scandinavian energy corporation is in any way left-wing, socialist or in the best interests of Wales? How on earth are Ms Griffiths’ actions “for the many, not the few”?

https://www.oss.org.uk/appalling-decision-to-allow-wind-turbines-on-powys-beauty-spot/?platform=hootsuite

If you’re in the Wrexham area, why not pop by Ms Griffiths’ office and give her some feedback? I’m sure she’ll be delighted to hear from you!

Lesley’s Office Address:

Vernon House
41 Rhosddu Road
Wrexham
LL11 2NS

EDIT:

By chance, I found myself in Wrexham this afternoon. Don’t worry, I wasn’t stalking Lesley Griffiths. I just had a couple of hours to kill before starting a late shift near Chester, so I took a scenic drive around some of the area’s beautiful, unspoilt scenery. The stunning Horseshoe Pass is like a taste of Snowdonia in miniature, with slate-filled slopes dropping steeply down to the roadside. From the top of the pass, looking northwest, I got my first ever glimpse of the infamous Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm. Ugh!

I look at the photos and read the text of articles like the one above, and I do wonder if the characters involved are the same species as me and my Wind Warrior friends. Sure, they appear to have two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears, just like me, but their actions and attitudes are about as alien and illogical to me as a lifeform from Saturn. They are literally congratulating themselves on how much concrete they’ve successfully dumped over the site of an ex-forest, for crying out loud!

Most sinisterly, they’re taking schoolkids along to view the eco-destruction for themselves. And nobody seems the slightest bit bothered.

These Wind NPCs (they’re barely functioning humans) do not even register the slightest flicker of cognitive dissonance about the industrial-scale deforestation and desecration they’re inflicting upon our natural Earth.

They’re even boasting about it!!!

I don’t encourage the use of firearms and explosives as a method of higher level education for these pondlife (LARTing, we call it in IT); but I sure as hell understand why people less able to express themselves linguistically than myself are driven to acts of defensive aggression. I empathise, indeed I sympathise with them.

Have I been too harsh on poor Lesley Griffiths? I always worry that I might come across as a horrible person when I’m really not – it’s quite literally ONLY wind blight that brings out this side of my character! I shock even myself with the level of anger wind turbines arouse in me, the blog keeping track of these emotional disturbances and their root causes.

I’ll just say it once more, should anyone have missed it: I am a gentle, law-abiding, hard-working, creative soul, who ONLY gets triggered by the brutal impact of wind turbines on my mental health and emotional well-being. I’m as curious as anyone to understand the nature of what wind turbines do to me (and plenty of others). I WANT to support “clean, green” energy, but when I see the reality of what wind turbines do to the environment, it has a very bad physiological effect on me.

And that’s the point of blogging: to describe these negative effects openly and honestly, and then ask for my readers’ help in making sense of why this should be happening.. It’s just words and ideas for debate and discussion after all. As with all the victims of my rhetorical brutalism: they started it with their pro-wind, anti-democratic actions. I’ve simply reflected back at them their own bad karma.

You’ve upset a lot of people, Lesley, and my blog is all about letting you know how it feels. Now I’ve said my piece, I offer my hand in friendship, should you wish to take part in a constructive dialogue about your decision to overrule the public and wave through the unwanted Hendy Wind Farm.

45322481_1997320093667885_6737237862606962688_n

Advertisements

Hate Wind, Love Farms

20181021_174216

There are numerous fantastic websites dedicated to the hard science of the effects of wind energy. This blog comes at the topic from a different angle: the emotional and psychological impacts of wind power. And I’ve been feeling a decidedly strange emotion these last few days: sadness at the death of a wind turbine!

I don’t know what’s come over me. Blub… Sorry about this, I’ll be OK in a moment. It’s just that I’ve genuinely been touched on an emotional level by the sight of the broken turbine at Tewitt Hall near Oakworth.

To be honest I think it’s more a case of empathy than sadness. For the first time since I started this blog, I’ve really started to consider what it must feel like for a farmer to wake up one morning and find half a turbine blade lying in the lower field, the other half embedded into a nearby hedgerow.

I talk a lot about the “unspoilt” countryside, and people often misunderstand what I mean. I don’t mean “untouched by the hand of man”, or even “undeveloped”. What I mean is exactly what I say: “unspoilt”. It goes back to aesthetics, largely, but can also be gauged with other metrics such as house prices, air quality, wildlife diversity etc. Spoiling a landscape literally means lowering the value of one or more of these metrics over time. If there were 200 species of bird spotted in a moorland location last year, and only 60 this year, that would be a quantitative indication of spoilt countryside.

How do farms and agriculture fit into one’s evaluation of the quality of the countryside?  I don’t know enough about agriculture to hold forth upon the ecological impact of modern farming practices. What I do know is that wind turbines have changed the look and feel of the countryside more abruptly and incongruously than any other agricultural practice over my lifetime.

And yet, aside from the corporate wind farms, it’s farmers who have to live with these things. They depend on them to survive in many cases. That’s part the reason I find wind turbines give off a negative vibe. They denote failure, or at least a struggle. The irony of people who describe wind turbines as “majestic” is that, in reality, they tend to indicate reliance upon subsidies to stay afloat, rather than a lifestyle of comfortable affluence. Put it this way: what millionaire would move to the countryside only to block their own views?

Oh sure, there are some people getting filthy rich off wind farms, in general absentee landowners such as the New Zealand-based Lord of the Manor of Rochdale, who Labour should despise from deep within their DNA, yet strangely don’t. But those who erect a turbine outside their own window don’t appear to be motivated by greed. Just survival.

Someone, somewhere has to pay for the repair of these faulty turbines, and I wonder exactly who. I hope it’s not the farmers themselves. Are wind turbines sustainable as a source of income, even when they break? How many times does a turbine need fixing before it becomes untenable?

I’d love to live in a world where farmers didn’t need wind turbines to survive. Where we could say to any prospective turbine owners: “It’s OK, don’t worry about the turbine, we’ll just give you the money anyway!” Maybe we should be more proactive in helping subsidise struggling farmers by giving them cash incentives NOT to have a turbine!

In a way, that’s the long-term future for the countryside anyway: we country-lovers will place more and more premium on those areas that haven’t sold out their natural beauty. The very people most affected by what turbines do to a landscape are those most likely to cherish traditional country pubs in quaint little villages, keeping these independent rural businesses alive. Those city dwellers who believe in the abstract concept of wind energy will rarely actually visit these off-the-radar villages or support their economy in any way.

It makes good business sense to keep your local countryside turbine-free and popular with visitors!

Once again I make the claim that wind turbines exacerbate inequality: there is a clear and obvious difference between a pristine, turbine-free landscape and a degraded, turbine-blighted landscape. You’d have to be blind, deaf and almost inhuman not to be aware of the difference.

20181021_174333

X marks the spot – this entire area has now been blighted and stigmatised for miles around, for the sole benefit of Jaytail Farm, and to the detriment of everyone else in the neighbourhood. Is this really good for the environment?

What’s the very least “green” feature of the above landscape?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m very wary of being just another townie pontificating about country matters from the comfort of my suburban home. But the effects of blight upon the countryside touch a very deep, primal part of our collective consciousness. The archetype of the bucolic idyll spoilt by greed or temptation goes back as far as the Garden of Eden. Just ask Adam, ahem… There must be other ways we can keep our rural communities afloat, without paving paradise to put up a parking lot.

The truth is, the sad sight of a broken turbine – presumably damaged by the very wind it was supposed to be harnessing – helped my anger at its presence transform into a more reflective feeling.

I want to support our farmers and be a better friend to them than the suppliers of these shoddy turbines, I really do. I’m on their side. The farmers are the custodians of our countryside, after all.

I just think they’re deluding themselves, if they think they can rely upon the cruel, cruel wind to turn around the fortunes of a failing farm. And the more farmers alienate those most willing to support them, the harder they will end up making life for themselves.

MORE ABOUT THE BROKEN TEWITT HALL TURBINE:

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/environment/farm-of-the-week-farmer-a-big-fan-of-wind-turbine-power-1-5749460

EDIT: 

By Jove, I think I’ve stumbled across a solution, or at least a partial one. Bravo to the farmers alongside the B6295 in Northumbria. I noticed about three matt grey wind turbines, and what an aesthetic difference! Now it might seem counter-intuitive that drab grey has a better appearance than brilliant white, but it’s all to do with the juxtaposition of the turbines against their brooding moorland backdrops. The brown-green countryside swallows up the unobtrusive grey shape of the turbines and renders them much harder to see from a distance. As such, these grey wind turbines seem humbler and more honest somehow, more NATURAL!

Ditching the dazzling, artificial, ostentatious white paint might not solve all our turbine problems, but it would certainly make their presence decidedly less brutal.

 

Case Study: Keighley – A Crime-Ridden Town Surrounded By Turbine Blight

I was thinking of entitling this entry “Smothering Heights”, as it relates to the suffocation of the wild and wuthering uplands immortalised in the novels of the Bronte Sisters. A relaxing Sunday drive around the area was once again marred by more or less continuous wind blight for miles and miles around.

I noticed that the large town of Keighley, situated in the heart of Bronte country on the banks of the River Worth, just south of where it flows into the Aire, has now been totally surrounded on all sides by wind blight. My hypothesis is that this wind blight has a quantifiably negative impact on the town.

Looking at the crime figures for Keighley over the last decade, one can see a huge surge in violent crime since 2011 (when hardly any of these turbines were present). Between September 2017 and August 2018 there were a horrifying 3,682 violent crimes; in the same period between 2011 and 2012 there were “just” 777. That is an immense jump – an almost 500% increase in violent crime over just seven years. Is it just coincidence that over those seven years almost every available hillside surrounding Keighley has been blighted by wind turbines?

Even if the turbines aren’t directly to blame for the 500% rise in violent crime that seems to have occurred following their erection, they’ve certainly not made Keighley any greener, calmer, safer or more pastoral – the statistics prove it!

Let’s now look at Public Order offences – those low level incidents of people being aggressive or antisocial. Between September 2017 and August 2018 there were 941 Public Order offences in Keighley, compared with just 231 over the same period 2011-2012. That’s an increase of over 400%

The hard part of course is proving a causal link between the turbines and the increase in crime, so I’ll let you make your own minds up about the correlation between the two. There is certainly a symbiotic relationship however – it’s generally agreed that blight increases antisocial behaviour, and places that don’t have great self-esteem are easier pickings for wind predators bearing bribes.

The overall impression you get of Keighley now is of a town in beautiful but degraded natural surroundings. And so, instead of embracing the South Pennine moors on its doorstep, Keighley seems to be doing its best to cut itself off from them by erecting a ring of steel surrounding it on all sides.

Let’s go for a virtual road-trip around Keighley and look deeper into the stories behind the blight.

20181021_174320

Ovenden Moor Wind Farm dominates the landscape for dozens of miles all around, blighting not only the South Pennines but also Ilkley Moor and the Dark Peak. The original wind farm here was one of the first ever, and I remember visiting it years and years ago when it was something of an intriguing novelty. The original, smaller turbines were barely visible over the horizon; the repowered monsters that were installed in 2016 now follow you around wherever you go in the area. It’s almost impossible to get away from their domineering and intimidating presence.

Everything you liked about the Brontes’ writing (and Kate Bush’s music) has been belittled by the imposition of the new Ovenden Moor Wind Farm on the landscape. It’s utterly horrific in its visual impact. On its own it would be bad enough, but as you probably know by now, wherever you get a large wind farm you also get dozens of smaller turbines within its blighted penumbra.

I’ve already mentioned adjacent Soil Hill, a higgledy-piggledy collection of random wind turbines around this prominent hill, just west of Bradford and the highest point for 6,000 miles (until you hit the Urals!). Nobody, not even the most diehard, brainwashed Windie, could claim that wind turbines have improved the aesthetics of Soil Hill. It just looks like a scrap heap!

The A629, the main road through Keighley, makes its way north from the Calderdale border west of Soil Hill, twisting through the high-altitude village of Denholme and across the fringe of the moors before dropping down to Bronte-Central, aka Haworth. All the tourist stuff lies across the steep-sided Worth Valley, with the main road only skirting the village. High to its east lies one of the most visually incongruous turbines in the area – its gleaming, high-visibility white paint totally out-of-place.

The Bronte Society has long been struggling against the threat of wind blight and all the nauseating corporate BS that goes with it. First the Thornton Moor Wind Farm was approved…. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-17674282#

Luckily, the Wanks (sorry, Banks) Group pulled out! https://www.keighleynews.co.uk/news/13716481.Firm_shelves_plans_for_controversial_windfarm/

Why do wind farm people speak with such an unfailingly irritating, punchable, smug, passive-aggressive manner? Every single word these slippery scum utter makes my muscles clench up and my feelings curdle into anger.

On the high ridge east of Keighley there is another over-prominent turbine at Aire View Farm. About a year ago this turbine was in pieces, but it seems to be working again now. Was it replaced, or was it just routine maintenance?

If you want a fun driving road – or an even more fun cycling route – get yourself to Long Lee, a village/suburb only just connected to Keighley. The main road through the village is called Long Lee Lane before becoming Thwaites Brow Road: a suitably northern name for a quintessentially northern thoroughfare! You might want to stick Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” (also known as the Hovis music) on the stereo as you pass the Dickie Bird pub and start dropping vertiginously down this ludicrously steep, winding, boneshaking cobbled lane. Thwaites Brow Road bottoms out at the Aire Valley, where our road trip crosses the A650 and enters Riddlesden.

We ascend almost as steeply as we dropped, now north of the Aire and onto the southern slopes of Rombalds Moor. Where Rombalds Moor becomes Ilkley Moor, I’m not certain, because it’s all the same Marilyn, but I’ve already referred to the social injustice of the abysmal, diabolical, and incredibly suspicious Jaytail Farm wind turbine that blights the Rombalds side of the moor, so maybe that’s the difference: Ilkley Moor is iconic, posh and well-protected, whereas little-known Rombalds Moor is a free-for-all for get-rich-quick wind scammers. Is that the difference?

So much of the fiery criticism of wind power contained in this blog is as a direct result of Jaytail Farm’s unwelcome addition to the landscape. Let’s just remind ourselves: Bradford Council REJECTED this wind turbine, for eminently sensible and rational reasons. Planning Inspectorate WANKER Brendan Lyons overruled the wishes of the community with one of the very last successful appeals to slip through the net before the veto, claiming the turbine only has “moderate” impact, which is absolutely deceitful bollocks, almost criminally so.

20181021_174333.jpg

It was this catastrophic misrepresentation by Brendan Lyings that inspired my long guidance essay to the Planning Inspectorate, my video channel Remove All Wind Blight, and indeed this entire blog. The avatar of me at the top of the blog comes from the very day I happened to notice the turbine being constructed, from almost ten miles away, and I sped over to the site to capture the construction in real time.

Barely two and a half years later, the Jaytail turbine looks filthy and dilapidated, with visible corrosion just under the nacelle. The blades look like they’re covered in manure (the shit really did hit the fan, by the looks of things!) and the turbine is almost always spinning far more rapidly than the wind. Maybe it really is a super-dooper power generator after all; or could it simply be parasitically consuming electricity in times of absolutely no wind?

To see the Jaytail turbine for yourself, well go anywhere within ten miles of Keighley and look towards Ilkley Moor – you won’t miss it! But if you want a close-up, as well as a great panoramic view that really proves how wind blight has now enveloped poor old Keighley, than get yourself up to Holden Lane, the high road north of Riddlesden that runs right past the Jaytail turbine.

As we head west we descend another steep hill and drop down towards Silsden. Just before reaching Crosshills (with views directly back towards the Jaytail turbine), we cross briefly into the very edge of North Yorkshire, though it still feels more like West than North Yorkshire. The magnificent outcrop underneath Wainman’s Pinnacle looks like one of the most mountainous slopes in the region, but in fact there is a lane that passes behind the pinnacle, and even higher moors stretch off as far as the eye can see. Finally, finally, we reach the post-turbine wilderness, at last free of these sinister steel pillars that have been watching us throughout our journey. Or so it seems, for a few seconds…

Unfortunately, however, you never feel you’re that far from civilisation, because those bloody Ovenden Moor turbines keep reappearing on the skyline, just when you think you’ve seen the last of them. You really have to be around these awful machines for an extended period of time in order to start appreciating just how alienating and discombobulating their presence is.

Even at a height of nearly 400 metres above sea level, there are also still far too many isolated wind turbines around, including the “famous” one at Tewitt Hall Farm that has apparently won awards. Funny how there’s been no coverage of the burnout of this turbine… when I passed it yesterday, its blades looked charred and ravaged by fire, with a big hole where the nacelle should be. This stresses again that wind TURBINES are not sustainable. The wind might be (except it’s not really), but the metal machines needed to harness it sure aren’t remotely sustainable, and it’s those very Pennine winds that are killing the goose that laid the golden egg. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere…

Still, I struggle to feel too much animosity towards the poor, struggling owners of Tewitt Hall. They’ve TRIED to make this work, but you just can’t escape the Voice of Nature.

EVERYTHING YOU’RE ABOUT TO READ MUST BE TAKEN WITH THE FOLLOWING PIECE OF INFORMATION IN MIND – THE WIND TURBINE IN QUESTION HAS BURNT OUT AND IS USELESS, BARELY FIVE YEARS AFTER INSTALLATION!

THAT’S NOT SUSTAINABLE…

https://www.earthmill.co.uk/case_study/tewitt-hall-farm/

http://www.opusenergy.com/renewables/case-studies/tewitt-hall-farm/

20181021_174216.jpg

Our circular road trip takes us from here down into the large village of Oakworth and along the edge of the South Pennines “proper”. Luckily, there are still miles and miles of unspoilt moorland stretching between the Ovenden Moor and Coal Clough wind farms which bookend them.

For a final overview of the area, the A6033 Cock Hill (as featured in the Tour De France) offers an out-of-this-world ride across the tops towards the Calder Valley at Hebden Bridge.

From the top of this stunning road the cumulative impact of Coal Clough, Todmorden, Reaps Moss and Crook Hill wind farms is apparent. These three dozen turbines, separated into clusters but effectively one huge sector of blighted moorland, dominate the views to the south west, dwarfing the supposedly iconic Stoodley Pike.

I’ve mentioned before that maybe it’s best to have regional mega-wind farms, with no turbines permitted anywhere else, so could these South Pennine tops fit the bill and act as one of our regional mega-wind farms? Well, if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. If that’s what we want to do with these hills, then we should be honest and upfront about it, and we should be totally frank about the adverse impact of wind blight on all other kinds of land use, for miles around. The affected hills aren’t really fit for much else now, other than power generation. Much of the recreational and amenity value of these moors has been sacrificed at the altar of “green” “energy”.

The main reasons I would reject using the South Pennines as a mega wind-farm are because of the altitude – it just seems totally wrong and bad for the environment that we should even consider industrialising these fragile upper slopes – not to mention the topography and the unique character of the cherished Watershed Landscapes. On a small island like Great Britain, such a parallel universe of above-the-clouds, ethereal plateaus is a remarkable landscape of great value and scientific interest. The literary depictions of these wuthering heights have defined the region over the last couple of centuries, bringing in thousands of tourists from all around the world.

As with everywhere you find them, the wind turbines totally kill the vibe and brutalise the soothing contours of the South Pennines, whilst possibly contributing at least something to the 500% increase in violent crime experienced in Keighley.

That said… don’t let the wind blight put you off… there is still an awful lot of charm and character to Bronte Country, even if you need to turn your back on Ovenden Moor to find it! http://www.bronte-country.com/welcome.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Turbines In Art

h-kraugh

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking in this entry, other than an introductory paragraph to say: if the stats don’t get through to you, these artistic expressions of the emotional impact of wind farms just might.

43140774_10156342415958283_5978030727214661632_n

All credit to Josh for the above picture

Follow @Cartoonsbyjosh

Copyright © Cartoons by Josh 2018 All Rights Reserved

http://cartoonsbyjosh.co.uk/

Deborah L Pender - No Wind Turbines birds

Credit to Deborah Pender for this one

43206922_10156345289243283_4414314176478969856_n

windcartoon

viva

42752904_10156333161038283_1783295783081082880_o.jpg

39008893_10156222345883283_301805195816337408_n

28167986_2046563128957998_8100537315014526412_n

35651019_1776601092428785_1592217575754825728_n

13226685_1056960811059487_6866212507266590340_n

1511427_10153125226633283_2192203786885445951_n

13882099_1108586032563631_162518251864614547_n

10423800_961843063904596_6054224276010926043_n

37111401_10156153852613283_1516000254351114240_n

10409085_744294782326093_8883711682422858919_n

14469540_1151887661566801_3186806435925861439_n

Credit to Christian Berg for the above picture

417Kd1E997L

“Crook” by Altered Perception & Adam Peak: an ominous soundscape, incorporating real-life field samples, depicting the construction of the Crook Hill Wind Farm, near Rochdale, 2015.

Photos from the Crook Hill construction were also used in this beautiful song-poem by Robert Sandison, warning of the possible desecration of the Shetland Islands, should the wind developers have their way.

 

 

Cigarettes & Wind Turbines

20181002_174422.jpg

Anyone got a spare fag? Actually, no, let us eat first, and maybe after a delicious main course we can smoke a cigarette.

The meat and potatoes (or vegan equivalent) of today’s blog is a straightforward copy-and-paste from a fascinating series of questions I was just asked by a very bright young student doing a dissertation on the effects of wind energy. How she came across me, Lord only knows, and don’t think I haven’t ruled out some kind of put-up job from someone connected with the wind power industry, but the questions were simply fantastic.

Ask the right questions, you get the right answers!

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned once or twice, there’s nothing I like better than a good natter about wind energy, so I needed no persuasion in answering the following questions. Feel free to answer them yourselves and post your comments below!

And your homework for today: see if you can work out what on earth all this has to do with cigarettes… I’ll pop back at the end if you need a light!

1 What is it about wind farms that you don’t like?

Up until 2014 my opinion of wind farms was probably the same as most people’s. I never really came across that many in real-life, and everything I’d heard of them was as a symbol of “green energy” ie good for the environment. A few incidents that occurred in a very short space of time around the South Pennines, around the late summer of 2014, changed my mind. Firstly whilst rambling around Scout Moor Wind Farm, I felt a very strange and unpleasant physical sensation, nausea and almost a lack of balance, which research leads me to believe was caused by the infrasonic frequencies of large blade movements.

Secondly, I discovered a place called Rooley Moor which was beautiful, an oasis of unspoilt high-altitude moorland around the back of Rochdale. When I found out there were plans to build a wind farm here, I looked into it, somehow got involved in the local activist group (I genuinely can’t remember how our paths crossed!), and, well, it’s a very long story but the wind farm was rejected and the developers shamed for their appalling lack of sensitivity to local interests.

This dovetails with the third factor, another ramble across nearby Crook Hill was spoilt when I saw some lorry tracks on top of the moor. Further investigation led me to discover yet another wind farm under construction here, which I documented on my own website Crook Hill Eco Disaster. I saw for myself the horrible eco-destruction of an unspoilt moorland, carved and scarred with lorry tracks, huge concrete pilings and wholly inappropriate machinery screwing up the fragile peat uplands. Needless to say, the local river Calder flooded a couple of months later.

Finally, and this is all within a few short weeks, I attended a planning meeting for yet another wind farm in the same area, Gorpley, which was unanimously rejected. The behaviour of the developer was suspicious, dishonest and, mercifully called out in the local press (they had exaggerated and faked support for the wind farm). The whole world of wind farms seemed to be an environmentalist and ethical disaster, lots of brutal corporations (with gangster-style cars and shady security guards now patrolling our cherished hills and mountains) riding roughshod over communities and nature for profit.

Having researched this for four years, here is the fundamental reason wind farms are terrible for the environment:

A FISH ROTS FROM ITS HEAD DOWN.

Like fish, rivers have heads. All human and animal life depends upon water. Pollute or screw up the very source of our water, and what are we doing to ourselves as a species? Which air freshener would you choose: “Fresh as a mountain stream”, or “Fresh as an electricity generator”? My fundamental belief is that the heads of our rivers are special places that give birth to life itself. Screwing up the upper reaches of rivers is, to my mind, the fastest way I can think of to kill the planet.

2 What about smaller projects where there might only be one or two turbines? Does that change your opinion? Why?

No, these are even worse. If we MUST have wind farms, I’d rather have just a few mega-wind farms, in which there is no denial that the affected land will be pretty much uninhabitable or unpleasant for humans (and probably animals), but outside these specific wind farm zones, all other landscapes will be safe. If we must have wind power, I’d rather we sacrificed a few zones to energy generation, and left the rest of the countryside unspoilt. Even a single turbine can cast a horrendous grey pall over an otherwise entirely green landscape, which is why I call them “blight”. They are basically urbanisation, industrialisation, land character change, smashing down the barriers of what is “urban” and what is “rural”, what is “beautiful” and what is “utilitarian”, and in the process destroying the character and appeal of vast swathes of rural Britain.

Imagine your favourite picture or item of clothing, and someone draws a thick line in Tippex right through the middle of it. It would trash the painting or outfit, to the point where you’d probably throw it in the bin. That’s what even a single turbine does to a landscape, so far better to choose just a few landscapes that we are happy to trash, cover them with as many turbines as we can fit in that zone, and then ban turbines everywhere else, rather than to trash thousands of landscapes with single turbines. If we must have them, that is…

We currently have around 2,000 onshore turbines in Britain. Whitelee has about 100 wind turbines, so just 20 Whitelee-sized designated wind zones would be equivalent to what we currently have, which is turbine blight in virtually every county of the UK, and virtually every community feeling under threat from predatory wind developers.

3 Is it just wind or are you opposed to other forms of renewable energy (solar, hydro…) and why?

I’ve not experienced them enough to have been affected. And it’s not the fact wind power is “renewable” that is the problem, because wind turbines themselves are unrenewable, disposable scrap metal, so in effect wind energy is as traditionally polluting as any other form of energy generation infrastructure, if not more so! Indeed, Whitelee Wind Farm has been accused of causing water pollution.

4 How do you feel about the landscape before and after a wind farm has been developed?

A landscape with turbines will never, ever be more natural and “green” than the same landscape with no turbines. The shape and character of the landscape will be changed. Instead of a gentle landscape of green fields rising to gently, curved shaped hills, the landscape would be dominated by high-visibility luminous white spinning stars!

A lot of sports and artforms are judged according to how well synchronised the moving elements are – eg ice skating, ballet, synchronised swimming. On an aesthetic level, lots of turbines spinning out of sync has an appalling look that would score terribly, it looks messy and chaotic. It also “sounds” messy and chaotic, bearing in mind everything that moves vibrates and has a sound wave. Imagine the sound waves of 12 industrial turbines all rotating out of sync with each other. We might not hear the frequencies with our ears (although lots of people do), but we certainly feel them with our bodies. Low frequencies are proven to make people nervous and edgy (which is why they make great dance music, because they make it hard to stay still!) But imagine a bad DJ playing 12 songs all out of sync with each other…not so great!

5 Once a wind farm has been developed, do your opinions of the local council/authority and government change? Do you view them negatively? Does it change who you vote for?

Yes absolutely. I have just joined a political party 100% in order to oppose wind blight. I see authorities approving of wind farms as basically a scam, based on money and shady financial dealings. I genuinely feel I was part of the movement that changed English law regarding planning permission. The term “greenwashing” describes what I feel happens when councillors cover up their own financial interests by promoting “clean, green energy”. There is a fantastic novel called “OSPREY” by Matthew Corrigan that lifts the lid on some of the suspicious practices associated with such schemes.

I would never vote for a party that supported wind power (certainly onshore). Indeed I would actively campaign against them. Because, as I said above, a fish rots from the head down. If a party’s instincts are to screw up the mountains, moorlands and hills that form the heads of our rivers, then they are effectively screwing up EVERYBODY. I wouldn’t trust them, I wouldn’t think they knew enough about geography, nature and the basic reality of life on planet Earth to have the population’s best interests at heart.

6 If you were to gain more from a nearby development (such as reduced prices for bills, investment to your area), would you change your mind about wind farms?

No, because that would basically be the antithesis of green values – that would be eco-destruction for personal profit, which is everything I stand against. No amount of money can replace the benefit of an unspoilt upland landscape for the well-being of humanity. A lot of our great businessmen and women are keen mountain walkers, because these upland areas allow us to enter a higher state of consciousness, our brains literally operating on a more creative level. Many, many great minds have had an insight on a mountaintop which has led them to make millions. The “Peak Experience” is an archetype we all intuitively know and understand. To screw up those peaks for money is to be given one last plate of fish before the river is polluted, rather than taught how to fish in a clean and life-filled river. It’s a one-time bribe rather than a sustainable means of self-development.

7 What do you think the outcomes are for Scotland as a whole for wind farm developments?

Good timing, as I am an Englishman currently on holiday in Scotland. Like everything in life, there needs to be organisation, management, moderation and sense. Communities must have the final say. Every wind farm must PROVE its credentials, the way we expect of hospitals, schools, railways etc. I should be able to look at every single wind turbine in Scotland and be able to analyse its performance. I should be able to look at every turbine at Whitelee and work out if any of the turbines are under-performing – if so, they’re not actually good for the environment and they need to go.

We need critical thinking, rewards for good products that do well, and punishment for bad products that don’t do what they promise. The whole discourse around wind farms is too simplistic (love them/hate them), instead of saying, “Well, some are good, but others are a clear scam.”

The whole financial arrangements of wind farms are a mystery too. Nobody knows how wind farms make their money. There is no competition or choice for consumers. We are told “All wind farms are great” which is a clear lie, and of course invites the response, “No, all wind farms are rubbish!”. I’m sure reality is somewhere in the middle, but without any PROOF, I would always err on the side of NO turbine building being better for the environment than any turbine building.

Unfortunately the SNP looks corrupt, shady and backward in pursuing wind farms. They seem like a fad from the late 80s, if not the 1680s!!! Dated, struggling technology that is totally unfit for the 21st century. Whereas most machines get smaller as they get better, wind turbines only seem to get bigger and bigger! A good analogy would be the R-101 airship, which ended up smashing into a hill and killing everyone on board. Why? Because it was designed as more of a political statement rather than as an ergonomic and efficient means of transport, and as a result it ended up bigger and bigger, more and more bloated, essentially unable to generate sufficient power and uplift. Wind turbines are exactly the same!

8 Does Scotland benefit or not?

I don’t think it does. Certainly not rural Scotland, which is now full of communities living in fear, wasting an awful lot of their own personal energy (they say energy is not created, just transformed from one source to another – so maybe wind turbines just transform human life energy into electricity, in the process de-energising us as a species to provide energy for the machines?!) Does urban Scotland benefit? I can’t see how. I genuinely can’t see any benefit to anyone, other than money for a few landowners.

And if the only benefit of wind power is money, then it is nothing to do with environmentalism and all about capitalism. If that’s the case, the SNP are more capitalist and right-wing than the Conservatives!


Wow! Well, I was asked… I answered. And I received an awful lot of agreement and reposts from all around the world. Probably more people have read the above text in the last 24 hours than have ever read this blog! That’s fine – this blog is for the hardcore truth seeker, whereas the above answers were more mainstream in tone. The phrase “A fish rots from the head down” seemed to particularly resonate. Cliches are only cliches because they’re true, after all.

Now, either my young interviewee was a relative of a wind farm worker, sent on an undercover mission to find out more about the motivations of us Wind Warriors, or else (and I’d love to think this is the case), the latest generation of students is healthily sceptical and savvy about the Greenwash. It’s good that universities are looking into this stuff academically, that’s for sure. The effects of wind energy have truly entered the Overton Window of youthful discourse, which is a huge social change from even three or four years ago! Dare I say it, is opposing wind blight finally becoming “hip”?

We’ll look more at wind turbines in the arts next time, in what promises to be one of my personal favourite blog posts. I can’t wait to get stuck in, and if you want to contribute – please do send me any examples of wind turbines in art or music.

I just want to finish off with that long-promised ciggie! So, did you work out from my answers above what the connection is with smoking? After all, I only made the connection myself on pondering how I could have been more succinct or persuasive in my responses.

Well, here it is… My approach to wind turbine zoning is exactly what pretty much every country in the world already does in regard to smoking. In exactly the same way as even just one misplaced turbine can pollute an entire landscape, just one cigarette can stink out an entire house for hours. We as a society decided it’s morally wrong to impose cigarette smoke on people against their will and without their consent, so we banned it in all public buildings, whilst maintaining the basic liberty to carry on smoking if you really want, just so long as you keep it confined to a designated area.

You get the connection yet? Whitelee Wind Farm is like a smoker’s room. I noticed one last week at Schiphol Airport (we don’t have them indoors in the UK anymore, but they’re still about in the Netherlands). Step inside the smoking room at Schiphol and it’s like walking into an ashtray! But within this hermetically-sealed bubble of stale nicotine, you’re more than welcome to stay and chainsmoke twenty Marlboro Lights, if you don’t have a plane to catch and you’ve nothing better to do with your life.

Step outside the smoking room with so much as a semi-lit dogend, however, and you’ll get arrested within seconds.

Let’s treat wind energy (or hill energy, as I should have referred to it in the Q&A… saying we have 2,000 hilltop electricity generators in the UK would have really brought home the unrenewable, land-polluting reality of “wind” power) the way we treat smoking. It’s wrong to inflict its toxic pollution on people against their will and without their consent. If people really, really want wind turbines, then let’s give them a zone that we don’t mind turning into an environmental ashtray, and let them build as many as they like in that zone.

But if so much as an anemometer is erected even one metre outside the designated turbine zones, then its removal should be enforced as zealously as we punish sparking up in a no-smoking area.