Greg Clark MP – The Ultimate NIMBY?

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I know every square inch of Tunbridge Wells like the back of my hand. From Southborough to North Farm, from Bidborough Ridge to Benhall Mill; from the Pantiles to Calverley Gardens, from Langton Green to Hawkenbury; there’s not a single street in the town I don’t know. Further afield, I also know my way around all the outlying villages and hamlets. Drop me off in Lamberhurst and I’d be able to get to Speldhurst with no map and no compass!

I only mention this so that Greg Clark, MP for the Kentish spa town, understands that I know his patch better than he does. And I genuinely believe that, hand on heart. Were someone to hand both Mr Clark and myself a pen and a paper, and ask us both to draw a map of the borough of Tunbridge Wells, mine would wipe the floor with his.

One thing I can also tell you is this: there ain’t a single wind turbine in the entirety of Tunbridge Wells.

You have to travel miles and miles to see them. People in “Royal” Tunbridge Wells live in a different universe from the turbine-ravaged towns of Rochdale and Halifax. So, if it’s true that Greg Clark has signalled his approval of wind turbines through the back door, this would mark him as literally the ultimate NIMBY, someone prepared to inflict wind blight on other communities, just as long as it’s nowhere near The Wells!

Furthermore, Greg Clark could well be an example of a Dishonest Banana. Remember, a Dishonest Banana is someone who, in their heart, knows exactly how unpleasant wind blight is, but they’re not upfront about their true knowledge of the hurt they are causing. This is implied by the “back door” through which this latent support for wind schemes has allegedly been sneaked.

The latest message I received from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy contrasted sharply from their rather more constructive reply of a few months ago. And so I reach out, in the spirit of free speech and the right to reply, and directly offer Mr Clark or his office the opportunity to set us all straight and to explain exactly what is going on.

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I’ve said before that when confronted with an angry man, good customer service involves calming them down, working through their anger and leaving them satisfied that their issues are well on their way to being resolved. The absolute worst thing you can do with someone angry is to stonewall or gaslight them – you’ll take someone who was moderately angry and you’ll amplify their anger to a state of cold, vengeful rage.

Unfortunately the above email did not answer the direct question of whether the allegations about the sneaky return of wind subsidies are true. Sadly, one is left with the impression that they are.

“It’s not me that’s changed. It’s you.” 

The tone and content of my email was much the same as my previous message of a few months ago: unashamedly angry, worried, frantic and in need of reassurance that the Government had taken on board the very real impacts of wind blight. In fact most of my message was simply my preceding blog entry repeated verbatim.

The last time I emailed the BEIS, they managed to reassure me by spelling out in black and white that the Conservatives were opposed to the expansion of our onshore wind infrastructure (their use of the word “onshore” clearly meant to give a free pass to offshore wind farms).

So, Mr Clark, the floor is yours. Are you a man or a mouse? Are you going to scurry back to Tunbridge Wells, hiding in the shadows with your head down, which would be TERRIBLE for your mental health and well-being, or are you going to step out into the light and talk openly and honestly about your policies?

As I have said before, it is perfectly possible to stand up proudly for “green” schemes, if you genuinely believe in them and are prepared to fight your corner. I call this being a Lime – green on the outside, green on the inside. If you believe in your wind turbines, make the case for them, win over the critics, take sceptical people like me with you on the journey. Your very reticence and furtiveness makes it look like you’re ashamed or guilty of some kind of chicanery.

Back door schemes WILL wear you down, Mr Clark, they will gradually eat away at your vitality and leave you feeling grey, haggard and weary. Why slowly kill yourself and destroy the countryside, simply to make money for a bunch of unsavoury wind scammers? Why fuck up the Conservative Party any more than the slow motion car-crash it has already become in the two short years since I described you guys as “the adults in the room”? I wish my friend Sajid Javid would knock some sense into your head.

I’m on my way to Tunbridge Wells tomorrow. I will be down there for a few days. I may even pay you a visit so we can chat face-to-face. After all, you’d certainly be welcome at mine. Despite my distinct lack of trust towards your best intentions, I’d warmly welcome you for a meal and a glass of wine (though I’m not sure I’d turn my back on you for too long, just in case you sneaked my TV out “through the back door”). Would you welcome me to yours? Would you be as hospitable and open to dialogue with me as I am with you?

If you’d like a chat so my readers are given the true facts about what exactly your party is up to, then reach out. Or, if you’d prefer a neutral space, I can highly recommend a lovely pint of Kentish ale at The Peacock Inn, Goudhurst!

EDIT 25/7/19: This must rank as one of the most rapidly dated blog posts I’ve ever written. Exactly one month after writing, and Mr Clark has been replaced at the BEIS by Andrea Leadsom. As I know how much they enjoy receiving my letters, I thought it fair to offer a note of congratulations to the incoming Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy:

Dear BEIS,

I would like to follow up my email of one month ago, addressing allegations that Greg Clark MP intended to reintroduce wind subsidies “through the back door”, with a message congratulating Andrea Leadsom on her appointment as the new leader of the BEIS. I have every confidence that Mrs Leadsom will be truly superb in her role, and I would like to wish her all the best in her appointment.

I would just remind you of Mrs Leadsom’s famous quote from 2016: “I conclude that the benefits of onshore wind have been hugely exaggerated by the developers who stand to make huge sums from the taxpayer incentives… It used to be the case that criticising onshore wind energy led to being denounced as a ‘climate change deniier’. I sincerely hope those days are over.”

I trust this sensible attitude will continue under Mrs Leadsom’s leadership of the department.

Finally, should the BEIS require any information about wind energy’s impact on the UK, please do get in touch, as I would be happy to offer my extensive knowledge of the geography and hydrology of the UK, and how these are impacted upon by inappropriate wind development. If you ever require more information about wind energy, I freely volunteer my services.

Yours sincerely

Peak Protector

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Wind Energy – The Indisputable Axioms

  • Wind energy is bad for the environment.
  • Wind turbines have a negative impact on the countryside.
  • Wind turbines are the wrong shape, the wrong size and the wrong colour to be aesthetically appropriate for rural areas.
  • Wind turbines kill birds, bats, bees and (I’m alleging) whales.
  • Wind turbines can make humans feel sick.
  • Wind turbines have a quantifiably negative impact on mental health, increasing the instances of suicide in their vicinity.
  • Wind turbines have a quantifiably negative impact on property values.
  • It is immoral, directly contradicting the teachings of the New Testament, to impose unwelcome wind blight on people, against their will and without their consent.
  • Wind turbines are bad for social justice, directly handing over control of our natural assets “from the many to the few” and resulting in the corporatisation and industrialisation of Open Access Common Land.
  • Although wind turbines are indeed capable of generating electricity, weather-dependent energy sources are by their nature intermittent,  unsustainable, and unreliable.
  • The wind itself is one of the principal causes of turbine damage, meaning that the very resource they require to operate is also an existential threat to their sustainability.
  • Wind turbines are non-renewable disposables with a lifespan of just a few years, made of metal and paint, built on huge concrete foundations, often on fragile upland ecosystems.
  • The average capacity factor of wind turbines (ie what they actually generate in reality) is rarely more than 30% of their total capacity (what they theoretically could generate should the wind be blowing at gale force 24/7, 365 days a year).
  • Biomass is a vastly more reliable and sustainable form of renewable energy than wind (a single biomass-fired power station can generate the equivalent of 500 industrial wind turbines running at an unachievable capacity factor of 100%); however because smoke-belching biomass-fired power stations look exactly the same as smoke-belching coal-fired power stations, inefficient wind turbines are more widely used as the shorthand symbol for all renewable energy, despite biomass contributing significantly more pro rata.
    ** See comments below **
  • Anyone who prefers looking at a rural landscape with wind turbines to the same landscape without turbines has elevated the symbolism of renewable energy over the symbolism of unspoilt country views, indicating that their emotional resonance is more aligned with man-made technology than with the natural world.
  • Liking wind turbines is therefore an artificial social construct rather than an innate biological instinct.
  • In other words, people only like wind turbines because they’ve been told to.
  • What this signifies is that, psychologically speaking, those who like wind turbines have an external locus of control, whereas those who don’t like them have an internal locus of control.
  • This is confirmed by noting that opposition to wind turbines primarily derives from people’s personal experiences and the real-life impacts of specific wind projects, whereas support for them primarily derives from their theoretical meaning as abstract symbols of renewable energy.
  • Opposing wind blight does not automatically correlate to any particular opinion on the use of coal, gas, fracking, nuclear, or any other form of energy generation; it simply means being realistic, sensible and candid about the numerous problems associated specifically with wind turbines.
  • Opposing wind blight is not NIMBYism, unless the whole world is classed as our back yard, in which case it’s a badge we wear with honour; the real NIMBYs are those who virtue-signal their green credentials with wind turbines, whilst almost never personally suffering from the pollution involved in their operation.
  • Blogs such as this are directly responsible for challenging the wind industry’s one-sided propaganda, bringing some natural balance and equilibrium back to the global discourse about wind energy.

I’ll come back to these axioms and I’ll add more later. Feel free to add your own! This list stems from re-reading through the blog from start to finish, and extracting what I feel are the most salient points from throughout the pages and pages of prose. I’ve shown my workings throughout – the theses, antitheses and syntheses I’ve explored along the way. The axioms above are the subatomic-level kernels of inarguable truth that I genuinely believe are now “settled science”!

If you can spot any logical flaws in any of the above axioms, then the floor is yours. If I’m wrong, set me straight!