Bananas vs Watermelons: Internal vs External Loci of Control

18_windfarm__r_1024--(None).jpg

I’ve already described myself as a proud wind turbine Banana (Build Absolutely None Anywhere Near Anyone). Culture wars are raging on both sides of the Atlantic between us Bananas and our deadly rivals, the Watermelons. This could get messy…anyone for fruit salad?

In case you didn’t know, Watermelons are those who are Green on the outside but Red on the inside. A few years ago down in Brighton, a significant skirmish took place between Bananas and Watermelons over whether to pull down a century-old oak tree to make way for a new cycle lane. I forecast a long, protracted and acrimonious period of fighting for the two factions, as the impact of the under-construction Rampion Offshore Wind Farm (**WORST UK ECO DISASTER OF THE 21ST CENTURY**???) begins to envelope the formerly-raffish seaside resort in a miasma of retributions, blame and sheer pig-headed denial.

One has to reserve judgement and tread carefully, keeping an open mind and not actively wishing harm, just in order to say “I knew this would happen”. That would be pure selfish ego, as we are still seeing with some Remainers. Not all Remainers, clearly, not those who have reluctantly accepted the democratic endorsement of the Brexit thesis, despite it being the antithesis to their own views. We need both sides to come to the table to work towards a mutually agreeable synthesis. And so I have to be the bigger man and just hope that, now that we’re lumbered with it, the Rampion Wind Farm at least does some good in the world, rather than killing off one of the UK’s top seaside resorts (it would be a self-administered death to be fair, a Darwin Award for the entire Green Party).

I am sceptical though, and more than a little concerned that dead whales might start regularly floating up onto the beaches between Portslade and Peacehaven. But I don’t actively want it to happen. I don’t want thousands of people, many of them elderly, to find they can no longer sit outside and gaze off into the seemingly endless blue sea, as I myself used to do when I briefly lived in Brighton back in 2002. Strange to think that this former home town, where I used to DJ and throw club nights, is now languishing somewhere at the very bottom of places in the UK I’d like to visit. I can’t see me going back to Brighton for the next 20 years to be honest. Still, if that’s what the residents want, let them live with it. Maybe if everyone else moved to Hastings or Bournemouth, the remainder might get the message that normal holidaymakers don’t want to sit staring at a power station for hours on end.

We Bananas tend to have more in common with the central Brexit thesis than its Remain antithesis – ours is a different kind of environmentalism that maybe does start with protecting our own back yards, but certainly doesn’t end there. The Watermelons believe in a different kind of environmentalism, epitomised by Agenda 21 and enacted by supranational organisations such as the UN and the EU.

I wear my biases on my sleeve, but I explain where they come from and am always on the lookout for the antithesis to my own thesis. I’ve proven it often enough (see the previous entry for some good knockabout self-debating!) My bias comes from loving the earth beneath my feet, which happens to be British soil, not through choice but through the randomness of life. So be it. If I don’t like it here, I am free to leave. Luckily, there’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather be. Not that British is best, but it’s definitely the best for me.

Right now I’m in Leeds so I start with my own city, and spiral my focuses outward from there. To the South lies the Peak, to the north lie the Dales, so I am blessed to have two of the world’s most stunning National Parks on my doorstep. But these landscapes are for everyone, we don’t want to keep them for ourselves, far from it. It’s the millions of visitors every year who keep these places vibrant, alive and worthy of protection, constantly thrilling and exciting first-time visitors with their gobsmacking natural landforms, such as Mam Tor, Kinder Scout, Ingleborough, Malham Cove, Lovely Seat etc.

Bananas tend to start with their own cognitive processes and spiral out from there to come up with an original theory or two, whereas Watermelons tend to start with pre-defined theories, and then apply them to their own experiences. In truth, reality is a bit of both, a SYNTHESIS of both our own empirical evidence and underlying theories formulated by experts.

These are the two starting points upon which our environmental policy debate is based: eco-destruction as perceived directly by our senses (Bananas) vs eco-destruction as explained theoretically (Watermelons). Nothing epitomises this divide more than wind farms.

The justification for wind farms is basically as a “techno-fix”, ie a mechanical solution for tackling climate change, an issue which as I have already explained is not most efficiently or ergonomically solved by trashing our health-giving uplands; however at least I understand, and up to a point agree with, the theory that leads people to think of wind turbines as a solution. If CO2 emissions are the problem, and wind turbines fix that problem, it’s a no-brainer, right?

The trouble with the theoretical Watermelon approach is that there is nobody on earth who can detect climate change through their senses alone, well not until the point where the icecaps melt and Stoke-on-Trent becomes Stoke-on-Sea. Therefore the minute we base our environmentalist discourse on the climate change thesis, the very foundation for our viewpoint rests on other people’s theories, that we only even 1% understand, using modelling data we have never seen, and that even the experts can’t agree exactly what it means.

That’s not to say I don’t believe in man-made climate change, far from it, just that my sole means of finding out about it comes from theory rather than my own experience-based observations: from institutions, governments, journalists and millions upon millions of opinion articles. Overwhelming, confusing, prone to exaggeration, misinterpretation and distortion – how the hell can a normal person make a truly informed decision about climate change?

Clearly the lower our toxic emissions, the better all round. But to proactively add more eco-destruction that has a dreadful impact on our senses, on a scale hitherto unknown, and in locations hitherto sacrosanct, in the name of something so theoretical as climate change, is the hallmark of a true Watermelon. The theory says it’s right, and that comes first. The psychological and emotional impact of the policies upon come a distant second.

Bananas, on the other hand, start at home, with our own garden, or a nearby field, or down at the river, and we contemplate how it makes us feel. If we experience eco-destruction, no matter what its theoretical benefits, it makes us feel bad, and we try to understand what on earth it is about it that has such a negative impact upon us.

In doing this, we may formulate our own counter-theories that challenge the existing theories of the Watermelons. In time, a natural synthesis will evolve, and a general consensus will form. However new generations may then find that their own experiences no longer adhere to the synthesis we arrived at, and they too will come up with their own antithesis. And so it goes on…that’s progress!

Honestly identifying flaws in a product or service and responding to feedback from the public is an essential part of technological innovation. A business ignores the genuine views of the public at its peril.

This is why I proactively like to engage with young voters and bring the topic of wind blight to their attention. To bring it into the Overton Window of relevant topics that our future political leaders consider important. The wonderful health-giving properties of the Peak and the Dales are certainly not lost on the 20-somethings of the North. The tricky part is highlighting the damage to the other parts of the Pennines caused by industrial wind blight, ever-encroaching into these magical watershed landscapes.

Now here’s the bit I want to say to my fellow Wind Warriors, in the hope it will help you better advance your arguments with those who might be most difficult to get through to. If the left gets UKIP wrong, then maybe equally sometimes the right gets the Greens wrong, so allow me to explain.

Green voters are just as intelligent, rational and reasonable as anyone else. Often young and unworldly, but absolutely not stupid or irrational. Far from it, Green Party policies are way more theory-based and intellectual than their detractors might realise.

I believe Green Party voters can best be reached through high-level intelligent discourse.

I would suggest that there’s something else that separates Bananas from Watermelons, and once again it is psychological in its roots. I would suggest that maybe the fundamental difference is that Watermelons tend to have an external locus of control, whereas Bananas veer towards an internal locus of control. Brains or ethics don’t come into it. Watermelons too have their amygdala hijacks and react accordingly. But whereas an amygdala hijack will ultimately lead to a Banana feeling personally empowered and motivated to set things straight on their own, without the need for outside assistance; oftentimes a Watermelon will feel the situation is out of their control and they need someone else to stand up on their behalf.

Once you recognise the fundamental psychological split, often buried beneath layers and layers of behavioural disguise, and once you realise it’s nothing to do with how nice people are or how bright they are, but simply how much control they feel they have over their own lives, then you can truly understand the battle for the soul of the environmental movement, the battle for Brexit, the battle over Trump, the battle over climate change etc etc. All these culture wars are essentially the global consciousness asking itself how much of this stuff we can do on our own, and how much requires the help of other people?

So this Banana here takes that initial amygdala hijack and uses it to become empowered, determined and more than capable of standing up to the wind bullies, to rub their noses in their own eco-destruction, to stop at nothing to personally protect the landscapes near me, and to use my passion to help others protect the landscapes near them! Whereas, I would posit, when a Watermelon is hit with an amygdala hijack, they feel less personally able to deal with it on their own, more in need of assistance from the authorities or the experts to get the ball rolling, after which they might start to take the reins.

All this is grossly generalistic, as Hillary described her election-losing “deplorables” observation, and all of us rely ultimately on the authorities to resolve disputes. But that’s the fundamental difference. Bananas start on their own, and build up to a crescendo that may well end up with the the full force of the law behind them, whereas Watermelons tend to start with an authority/establishment/expert decision, which they then apply to everything they experience, and fall back on that default appeal to authority whenever experiencing an amygdala hijack. Maybe you can even tell a future Banana from a Watermelon from the day they start primary school. A Banana will fight back when attacked by a bully; a Watermelon will tell the teacher.

At the small festival I just attended, I saw a number of stalls, one of which stood out for me in particular, the Greenpeace stall. Compare this to the adjacent stall, a small independent vegan cafe. Greenpeace is a global organisation that has found a way of cascading its PR down to intimate local festivals. Top-down. Draconian climate change policies. If they run out of leaflets, they would be able to report back to head office and get extra supplies sent over. External locus of control. Whereas the vegan cafe…Grass roots. Home-grown produce. If they run out of kale, then, game over, unless they can find their own way of getting more delivered asap. Internal locus of control.

To confuse matters, often a Watermelon operation will disguise itself as grass roots, without revealing the hidden hand behind-the-scenes pulling all the strings (known as “astroturfing”). Occasionally, you might even get the odd Banana operation disguising itself as something that has global backing, when it fact it’s just a couple of herberts doing their own thing. Lonewolf bombers sometimes do this, claiming to be part of a major terrorist group when in fact they’re just suffering from their own private, and highly dangerous, amygdala hijacks.

So yes, I admit, some Bananas are bad people. But the difference is not about good vs bad, or smart vs stupid, or thoughts vs feelings, or male vs female, or black vs white, or even left vs right (lifelong Eurosceptic Jeremy Corbyn definitely has something of the Banana about him, whereas Tony Blair’s ardently pro-EU stance was pure Watermelon!). The ultimate difference is whether people’s locus of control is essentially internal or external, and the cross-party EU Referendum debate encapsulated the difference politically: do we as a society want the UK’s locus of control to be internal or external? Answer: Internal.

I hope I’m proving that, although I’m a Banana first and foremost, I have no disrespect for Watermelons as people, I believe I understand their psychology, especially when it comes to climate change. They feel powerless to prevent it on their own, and that such a vast issue requires top-down solutions rolled out, as per Agenda 21, which we’ll come onto shortly. Wind turbines are the natural outcome of such a policy framework. Whereas us Bananas start with first-hand experience of the eco-destruction of the lands we know and love, and then we work outwards from there.

If a Watermelon can’t empathise with a Banana getting upset at seeing the countryside devoured by machines, then they’d do well to ask themselves what on earth they’re doing in the Green Party. That, ultimately, is why I come down on the side of the Bananas.

No theory or academic paper in the world can remove the emotional sting and psychological impact of seeing our treasured landscapes trashed for profit. 

Yes I’m proud to be a Banana, but I’m friends with loads of Watermelons and I know they’re not bad or stupid people, far from it. More often than not, they’ve never experienced the negative impact of wind energy for themselves. They just feel overwhelmed by the threat of climate change, helpless to tackle it on their own, promulgating directives and talking points that actually originate from big, shadowy agencies, who often don’t have their best interests at heart.

We Bananas say instead: take control, open your eyes, ears and senses to the world around you, engage directly with nature, love the soil beneath your feet, stand strong, and you really can change the world, with nobody else’s thoughts, feelings or ideas but your own!

Ultimately, we all need to work together on environmental issues, so I hope understanding a bit more about the psychology of our political adversaries may help us come to a mutually beneficial synthesis that makes this a better place to live, without needing the help of wind turbines. There’s got to be other ways…let’s start looking for them, together 🙂

Just saying… http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15502115.Ships_investigated_in_toxic_cloud_mystery/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-21702452

http://changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/locus_control.htm

EDIT: As always, my first critic is myself! Maybe there’s a link between critical thinking and DJing… in case you didn’t know, my introduction to low frequency rumbles didn’t come from wind turbines, but from sound systems. Maybe that’s why I’m so sensitive to the negative impact of out of phase infrasonic frequencies; a wind farm’s soundwaves are like a DJ playing 12 songs at once, each out of rhythm with each other. Strewth!

DJing involves listening in headphones to the song you’re playing next, while people are still dancing to the song you’re playing now. Being one step ahead. Knowing in advance that the song you had cued up next might in fact not be the best song to play, and changing your mind before the public even notices!

And so…I hear the voice of critical thinking in my headphones. Woah, woah, woah, it shouts. Hold on, hold on, hold on…how the hell can you describe people who want to be self-sufficient, generating their own power using their own wind turbine, as having an external locus of control?! Surely they are the biggest Bananas of the lot? OK, they might have a small turbine of their own, but only as an alternative to huge, filthy coal or gas-fired power stations, which have way more visual impact on way more people.

Serendipity came to my rescue! I genuinely didn’t have an answer for this, until yesterday evening when I saw a Sponsored Post on Facebook. The post, for a suspicious-looking group called 10:10 Climate Action, which seems to be pure Watermelon (if ever in doubt, ask yourself: IS THIS GENUINELY GRASS ROOTS, OR IS THERE SOMEONE IN THE SHADOWS PULLING THE STRINGS???), features a poll: “Which would you rather live next to, a wind farm or a fracking site?”, illustrated by a wind turbine (minus concrete foundations, substation, cabling, pylons and HGV access tracks, which always seem to get missed out of cartoon depictions of wind turbines) and a fracking well (illustrated with a huge hole in the ground). I added a comment: “Here’s my answer….[link to here]…Enjoy!”

The poll and accompanying blurb is as typically misrepresentative as we’ve come to expect, saying “The government have banned wind farms because they say people don’t want them in their back yard.” I’m sorry, but that is just such BS, so TYPICAL of these bloody wind scammers. Let’s be honest, there is no way on earth any government of any country would give that as an official reason for a policy change (I believe the real reason is the government finds it morally objectionable to keep throwing vast sums of public money at the wind energy companies). It’s pure name-calling by the wind lobby, the same tired old NIMBY epithet which I debunked pretty much as soon as I started this blog. Yet it’s absolutely not NIMBY to oppose fracking, oh no, that’s perfectly sane and normal. Double-standards!

Do you ever wonder if the sole reason fracking gets such a bad rep is deliberately to make people think wind turbines aren’t as harmful? Negotiation #101: start with a ludicrous offer and then gradually whittle it down to something just about acceptable. So you don’t want fracking? No, well OK, we hear you, instead we’ll erect 100 clean, green wind turbines? Too many? How about 50? Still too many? OK, final offer, 20? DEAL!”

People don’t want ANY industrial development in their back yards, which is why for hundreds of years we have had heavy industrial zones nowhere near our areas of natural outstanding beauty. Wind farms tear down that ancient and organic split between “aesthetic”-based and “utilitarian”-based landscapes. If anything crosses boundaries, it’s industrial wind farms, imposing their stark utilitarian ugliness on areas that were formerly aesthetically pleasing (and therefore good for our mental health).

I hope the Watermelons behind 10:10 Climate Action are reading every word of this, because you’ve been rumbled, and you’ve helped answer my awkward question. Well, one of your contributors did, with an excellent point that I’ve never heard before. See, it’s not just a case of the wind turbine powering a property on its own, like a phone charger. All that happens is the wind turbine “feeds in” to the National Grid. Same electricity supply for everyone. So the wind turbine feeds some supply into the grid, not a lot to be honest, which the property then draws back out in its use of electricity. And that’s why a private wind turbine is still, and always will be, a Watermelon concept: Green and self-sufficient on the outside, but Red and externally-controlled on the inside.

The fact is, when it comes to electricity we are all Watermelons to a certain extent, which is annoying, but that’s the nature of electricity. Electrical appliances require a standardised current; if you buy an iPad and I buy an iPad, we both need exactly the same amounts of volts, amps, watts and ohms to make them work. Is it even possible for an individual to generate their own perfectly calibrated electricity, just by means of a wind turbine alone? Or does the turbine merely feed into the grid, possibly contributing a tiny, token amount of power, whilst still at heart relying on the same old coal and gas-fired power stations that we all use? You can’t just set up a turbine on your own and expect your iPad to start working; you need it to be assimilated into the existing grid and its erratic current regulated, which is pretty much a drain on resources for all involved. Lord knows why ANYONE would get a wind turbine!

frax.jpg

HERE WE GO AGAIN. You need to read this, 10:10 Climate Action… https://www.facebook.com/notes/johnstown-wind-action-group/a-wind-farm-lament/1154673064678097/

Awkward Questions Answered

This weekend’s roadtrip was one that could not have come at a better time, and its write-up could not be more germane to the discussion at hand. I travelled about 80 miles from Leeds to just outside Louth in Lincolnshire, and along the way I saw: one dead coal-fired power station (Ferrybridge); one operational coal-fired power station, with a new gas-fired power station being constructed alongside (Eggborough); one hybrid coal/biomass power station (Drax); one of the largest and most hideous “cumulative” agglomerations of onshore wind farms in Britain (stretching pretty much unbroken from Goole to Scunthorpe); and several private wind turbines of varying size, location and impact. You could not ask for a better control environment than today’s journey from which to take a closer look at different forms of power generation and their respective impacts.

With this blog in mind, I listened to no music along the way and instead gathered my thoughts. As always, it’s mostly critical thinking of my own arguments, trying to be the first to spot any inherent logical flaws, and asking myself those annoying awkward questions before anyone else does, such as:

Awkward Question #1: If we can’t see any turbines and we don’t even know they are there (eg at night, or even just because we’re looking the other way), can they still affect us?

Let’s work through it logically. If so, if under a controlled experiment people’s brain activity changed in the vicinity of a wind turbine that they didn’t even know was present, then that’s your smoking gun right there: something about the turbine other than its appearance would be having a neurological impact.

If not however, if we approach a turbine in the dark and don’t even notice its presence, then that would indicate one of two things:

Either: (a) whatever it is that has an impact when we see turbines has nothing whatsoever to do with their sound, magnetic vibrations or otherwise general uselessness, solely their visual appearance.

Or: (b) the visual impact is itself merely a trigger for some other personal cause of amygdala hijack (“Catcher In The Rye” theory, ie it wasn’t anything inherently about the book itself that led Mark Chapman to murder John Lennon, any other book being equally capable of being interpreted by the assassin’s mind as a trigger to attack Lennon). Derren Brown proved this with an excellent episode based on programming a participant to assassinate Stephen Fry with various everyday triggers (eg seeing an advert on a bus). So it is perfectly possible that just about anything could set off an amygdala hijack in people, either deliberately or accidentally. Maybe it’s just an irrational phobia, or even in some way related subconsciously to the arachnoid appearance of the turbines (not that I’m remotely scared of spiders, mind!)

I don’t have the answer but I’d love to test the theory, to find out if our brains detect the presence of turbines even when we can’t see them.

Awkward Question #2: If it’s just an issue of height and inappropriate rural development, how come radio masts, pylons and other assorted towers don’t have the same psychological impact? What about churches, for God’s sake???

This is interesting to me, with the giant Emley Tower visible from just around the corner from home. I love the Emley Tower, it’s one of Yorkshire’s iconic landmarks, higher even than the Eiffel Tower. That certainly comes between me and the Peak, so how come that gets a free pass? I even used to use the huge Holme Moss tower, actually located within the Peak National Park, as a logo for Peak City Radio. That too dominates the surroundings for miles and miles. The fact is, I can’t immediately rationalise why these towers are acceptable and even the smallest wind turbine isn’t. Maybe it has something to do with the motion of the blades, which certainly doesn’t help matters, but to be honest even at a standstill turbines cause an unpleasant sensation. I think the type and colour of high-visibility paint used is a huge part of the problem. To coin a phrase, wind turbines are “hideously white”. Not to mention the sharp and dangerous-looking blades. They just scream out: “WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL”!

Here’s a thesis that has just come to me: all the other kinds of towers resemble a peak, one way or another. They are essentially pyramid or cone shaped, which is natural-looking and in keeping with the laws of gravity and the physical universe. Wind turbines seem to defy gravity, visually anyway, like it’s taking the earth an unhealthy amount of strain to prop them up, and are therefore almost the psychological antithesis to everything we love about mountain landscapes. Wind turbines, especially those with the extra-long blades, look upside down somehow. They certainly clash with upland landscapes aesthetically, and therefore psychologically (unless we are now saying aesthetics don’t affect our moods, in which case we might as well just scrap art and music). Throw The Hay Wain in the bin. Raze Mont Sainte-Victoire. “I wandered, lonely as a Planning Inspector”. “To sleep, perchance, to dream…not to be kept awake by the constant whoosh, whoosh whoosh…”

All other machines tend to get smaller as they get better, less lumbering and more efficient. Wind turbines seem to get bigger and bigger, looking for all the world like they’re regressing in terms of style and sophistication. It’s like the new iPhone being the size of a shoebox!

Here’s my favourite answer though, especially for fans of synchronised dancing. I once read a decidedly Toynbee-esque puff piece for industrial wind farms, prattling on about the “beauty of all these sleek turbines, dancing gracefully like ballerinas in the breeze”…or something equally vomit-inducing. The logic-slapdown to that inane opinion (which you still come across in The Guardian comments section from time to time) is to say: the whole point of ballet is that the nimble dancers are perfectly synchronised, both with each other and with the music. Unfortunately wind turbines seem to have a tin ear to the beat, and therefore rather than emulating the Bolshoi Ballet gliding around the stage in perfect sync to the music of Tchaikovsky; instead the chaotic, haphazard, bad-trip contortions of a dozen 150m tall wind turbines, totally jarring and out of phase with each other, end up resembling nothing more than a mass brawl outside Wetherspoons on a Saturday night. A brawl which the turbines probably helped cause in the first place, by making the locals feel aggressive.

Out of phase industrial wind turbines in the countryside are single-handedly the most ugly, soul-destroying and discombobulating sight I have ever experienced in my entire life.

Awkward question #3: What about old-fashioned windmills? Aren’t they supposed to be beautiful, sometimes even tourist attractions? Plenty of artists have painted them…

This question is one I ponder often, as my uncle and aunt lovingly restored an old windmill, adding sails (not blades), four of them (not three), and taking the best part of twenty years to restore a black stump into a working windmill. I used to love the bread they made! Occasionally even scones. So when I say all owners of wind energy infrastructure should face a mandatory 25 year jail sentence, am I including my dear old uncle and auntie? How come their beautifully renovated windmill gets a free pass?

(Incidentally, this is the same aunt that suddenly started suffering from depression and insomnia at the age of 80. Last time I visited her I noticed the swinging blades of a large wind turbine just beyond her garden fence. Funny that…)

Again, I don’t immediately have the answer, but I do know not a single neighbour ever complained about the noise or visual pollution of the windmill, painstakingly restored with the aid of local craftsmen, in the community in which they spent all their lives. The differences between their windmill and your modern wind turbine are legion – they did it as a labour of love, not for money, with top priority given to aesthetics and style. Different materials used – wood, not steel, for a start. No high-voltage electricity, certainly no live current fluctuating wildly and erratically. No neodymium magnets either, not that I’m aware of…

Maybe hundreds of corporate old-fashioned windmills, located and styled as inappropriately as modern turbines, would have the same impact on our psychology. Maybe they did. Maybe that’s why we got rid of them! In a hundred years from now, maybe there might survive two or three industrial wind turbine remains that might too become tourist attractions, quaint relics of a bygone era, looked upon with incredulity by our descendants.

Awkward question #4: There are so many things in life that cause stress and grief to people, why concentrate on something whose sole impact so far seems to have been that it briefly intruded upon your country drive for a few seconds? FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS! Man up for crying out loud and just be grateful that they’re not mining coal underneath Ilkley Moor.

I use the country drive as a control experiment, to demonstrate an example of how to enter the alpha mental state (which is seen by psychologists as the state of maximum creativity and clarity). I encourage each and everyone of you to try it for yourself.

Here’s another control experiment for you all: where do you go on holiday? Why do you even go on holiday? What does it do to your mind? What would happen if you didn’t take a holiday? Now, how would you react if, on arrival at your long-awaited destination, for which you booked time off work weeks in advance, you check in and see a building site outside your window? (Go to Brighton if you want the answer, more of which later. MUCH MORE…)

There are many physical symptoms of an amygdala hijack: stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol flood the body, as if to prepare for a life-or-death fight. Our heartbeats quicken and our breathing shallows. We feel a quivering in our solar plexus, limbs, often even our voice. We may notice heat flush our face, our throat constrict, or the back of our neck tighten and jaw set. This is all “emergency” animal instinct, largely out of our control, though there are coping strategies once you are aware what is happening. Bear in mind, then, if you are on any kind of “nature” holiday whatsoever, attempting to heal yourself from the stress of everyday living by reverting to a more organic existence for a few days, then an amygdala hijack is BAD NEWS. Bear in mind also that it can take up to four hours, if not longer, for the body to relax and calm down fully after a hijack.

A 30 second glimpse of an industrial wind farm can trigger an unpleasant physiological reaction lasting up to four hours. Our National Parks need to be places where people can safely roam for long periods of time without coming anywhere near a toxic wind farm. No wind farms must be allowed within four hours travel time of a National Park, otherwise we might as well scrap the National Parks, there’s no point even having them.

Maybe now you might start to understand the mental health implications of removing people’s places of leisure, recreation, rejuvenation, refreshment, exercise, fresh air, green fields, hills, moorlands, mountains, rivers and the ocean, soft horizons stretching as far as the eye can see, with just the odd small building blending into the landscape.

So what do we do with our turbines then? We don’t want them in nice areas because it makes them less nice. We don’t want them in bad areas, because that’s just taking advantage of vulnerable people and stigmatising deprived communities even more. We don’t want to see them from our beaches. We don’t want them within four hours travel of any National Park.

The only logical solution is to Build Absolutely None Anywhere Near Anyone.

Awkward Question #5: You keep banging on about the unspoilt countryside and torturing people in their homes, yet when it comes to private turbines, it’s the very people who erect them who have to live with them, closer than anyone else. How come turbine owners never complain about health problems? Surely if people didn’t want them, they wouldn’t keep them, so who do you think you are are to stick your nose into country matters? You’re just as much a townie as anyone else. If country dwellers keep erecting turbines, doesn’t that indicate a popular, quality product that people choose to buy?

I’m going to get into a fistfight with myself at this rate! Don’t worry by the way, I’m not arguing with myself out loud. But here’s the answer to that difficult one. Firstly, if you oppose fox-hunting then you can’t ask me the above question with a straight face. If country dwellers want to fox-hunt, by your logic, us townies should butt out of that too and let them get on with it. Why do you oppose fox-hunting, even if you never see it day-to-day in the city, and you proactively have to travel miles into the countryside on the offchance of tracking down a hunt?

Whatever drives you to oppose predatory fox-hunters, that’s what drives me to oppose predatory hill-hunters, so look into your soul, ask yourself why you find fox-hunting so unacceptable, and realise I feel exactly the same about the gratuitous desecration of our hills. Same people, probably. Same lack of respect for other living creatures.

So how come these fox-hunting (probably) turbine owners never complain about getting sick? They must be happy with their turbines, right? Shouldn’t I just leave them alone and stop picking on them? First answer: confirmation bias. Clearly people who get involved with wind turbines are biased towards them for some reason, and therefore they see the world through a totally different prism from mine. That’s fine, and I welcome the discourse, as always. Any happy turbine owners in tip-top health, feel free to fill me in and turn me on. I’m all ears.

(I might just remind people that DelBoy was always the last to lose enthusiasm for his own schemes – long after Rodney, Uncle Albert and Raquel would twig this was another utter loser of an idea, Del would still be convinced success was just around the corner. “Never stop believing. This time next year we’ll be millionaires. This time next year we’ll start making money from the turbine, Rodney…”)

A more sinister explanation is that maybe once they’ve made their Faustian pact, turbine owners are contractually obliged to shut up and only say nice things about their purchases, no matter how many times the blades fly off. Or, if not obliged to say nice things, embarrassed to admit they screwed up. One step ahead of the pure DelBoy denialists, these owners may secretly acknowledge that they’ve been sold a pup, but really can’t be arsed with the inevitable “I told you so”s from us lot, so they just keep their heads down, try and make the best of a bad job and hope that somehow they can be extricated from their nightmare contract asap. Just a hypothesis this, not based on anything other than the odd case in America where a few landowners have finally blown the whistle on the godawful wind turbine deals they found themselves embroiled in.

I’ll keep coming back to these Awkward Questions, and feel free to throw in your own. I love it! I fail to understand people who feel passionately about an issue NOT welcoming questions, counterarguments and logic-chopping. It’s fun! And if you can’t answer a question, then it can sometimes lead you to query your own shibboleths and maybe change your thinking. I’m happy to do that. I’ve been asking wind supporters to engage with me, reassure me, persuade me and set me straight for three years now. They never do.

When I posted the Crook Hill Eco Disaster website, I was expecting to be threatened with legal action for libel at any moment, or at least have some arsey letter from Coronation Power, had I in anyway lied or misrepresented the “Eco-Destruction On An Industrial Scale”, as I tagged it. The website still stands, unchallenged, unopposed. Search Crook Hill Wind Farm on Google, and my website appears before the official one! My website is effectively the go-to resource for information about the wind farm. Nobody seems that bothered. I only ever had one complaint about my website, and that was from a fellow Wind Warrior who was concerned my Bible quotations (“Take these things away, stop making my Father’s house a place of business”) might be a bit inappropriate. Not that I was wrong, but that I might be weakening my own argument by bringing religion into it. Anyway, I put the Crook Hill Eco Disaster website up there expecting some kind of reaction from the developers, but nobody batted an eyelid. It just indicates to me that the parties behind the wind farm really don’t give a tinker’s cuss what people think of them, as long as they get their money. Basically, gangsters, for want of a better term.

I know, if it was me, if I thought I was working on an amazing “clean, green” earth-saving project, and some uppity website pops up criticising everything I was doing, I’d absolutely take steps to reassure them and set them straight that they had it all wrong, this is a great project, they should come and meet me for a chat, check out the operations, be involved and see for themselves what’s really going on. I’d relish the chance to win over a sceptic, if I genuinely believed what I was doing was in their best interests. The fact that nobody involved with Crook Hill reached out to me speaks volumes.

In the next section, I’ll talk in more detail about my complicated relationship with the Green Party and those who vote for it…

“Nature, live! Live, nature! Powers of Nature: Destroy illusion and reveal the truth!”

That was the motto of my Crook Hill Eco Disaster website: http://www.crookhillecodisaster.co.uk

More Worldwide Wind Misery

Another daily roundup of how folks all around the world are being tortured by the psychopathic wind vandals. THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE NEED INCAPACITATING, SO THEY ARE NO LONGER A DANGEROUS THREAT TO US NORMALS. Remember, all these links are from just one day. This type of cruelty is inflicted on people every single minute of every single day, in every single country of the world.

https://patch.com/massachusetts/falmouth/massachusetts-wind-turbines-trail-bloody-tears

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2017/09/20/moratorium-on-new-wind-farms-okd/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2017/09/20/Wind-turbines-removed-from-One-Government-Center.html

https://order-order.com/2017/09/19/green-ngos-spend-taxpayers-millions-lobbying-government/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+guidofawkes+%28Guy+Fawkes%27+blog+of+parliamentary+plots%2C+rumours+and+conspiracy%29&utm_content=FeedBurner+user+view

http://euanmearns.com/the-real-strike-price-of-offshore-wind/

https://green-watch.net/billions-spent-on-rush-to-renewables-based-on-false-stats-5bd6b5164943?gi=5568ad401e90

Knockskae – rightly refused

Killing Australia’s Renewable Energy Target an Essential Economic Reboot

Unreliable Subsidised Wind & Solar – Destroyers of Worlds – Have Become Economic Death

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/projects/effects-of-wind-farms-on-upland-birds/

Is that enough TRUTH for y’all or shall I continue?

WE’RE NOT ACCEPTING THIS SHIT ANY MORE – REMOVE ALL TRACES OF YOUR REPULSIVE WIND TURBINES, OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES: THE REST OF YOUR LIFE BEHIND BARS.

AND THAT’S NOT A THREAT.

IT’S A PROMISE.

There you go, how’s that for an amygdala hijack? A few hours later and I can read back on that and laugh, whilst still retaining my core anger. I certainly mean every word I wrote, otherwise I’d remove it. What triggered it? Mainly imagery, that same animalistic, defensive anger, caused by seeing yet more egregious eco-destruction for money, defecating all over the world’s natural habitats in the name of “clean, green energy”.

I just had a thought: the reason wind scammers call us NIMBYs is a textbook example of projection – that’s how they think themselves, purely in terms of their own selfish best interests, and so they fail to understand that us nature lovers view the whole planet as our back yard! You can’t be genuinely green without being a NIMBY, especially if your back yard is one of the world’s most cherished National Parks! But seeing photos of wind blight in the Sperrins or the Haute Vienne, and understanding the eco-destruction involved, has exactly the same psychological impact as seeing turbine blight with my own eyes here in Leeds.

Although I try and empathise with everyone, I must admit I find it very hard to empathise with anyone who makes their living from the rape of the countryside. Or maybe that’s the problem, maybe I empathise with them just a little too much. And that’s why I can see through their BS and understand their true motivation. £££££

CRITICAL THINKING #101: Let me just challenge my own thought-processes here, let me debate with myself and present the antithesis to my own thesis. What if I’m wrong and they’re right? What if they’re the heroes and I’m the villain? Driving around country lanes, polluting the atmosphere and scaring the wildlife, just for my own sense of wellbeing? What if my own anger is also projection, imparting onto the “wind scammers” my own bad karma and blaming these poor struggling farmers for my own frustrations in life? What if I’m the deluded, dangerous one? Or, if not projecting my own demons, simply suffering from cognitive dissonance and going after the wrong target, albeit for the right reasons. Shouldn’t I be directing all this anger towards the frackers and oil companies?

IF I WASN’T DOCUMENTING MY EXPERIENCES FOR YOU, DEAR READER, YOU MIGHT HAVE A POINT! But even asking these questions of myself is enough, I hope, to demonstrate critical thinking in action. I can tell you here and now that I paid out of my own pocket to get to Crook Hill religiously every week; I gave days of my own free time to document the construction of the wind farm, painstakingly uploading, arranging and annotating hundreds of photos, hours spent trawling through the thesaurus looking for non-libellous synonyms for “eco-vandals”! I doubt very much anyone from Coronation Power (aka Coronation OIL & GAS) would have set foot within 100 miles of the Pennines were they not being paid to do so. That’s the difference, right there. I give, wind scammers take.

Clearly I have a confirmation bias against wind turbines, and so everything I write should be seen through that prism (just in case you hadn’t figured that out yet…) But where does my bias come from? I’m trying to explain it – the psychological impact of the turbines themselves is the root cause of the negative feelings. Because reading my words is the nearest you can get to the inner workings of my mind, let me say this once and for all (I have to say it in virtually every single debate):

Like everyone else, I was all for the idea of wind turbines until I experienced their negative impact for myself. All my research is a direct result of my own fieldwork, not the other way round. You have to take me at my word on this, unless you chat to people who knew me before 2014 and can vouch for the fact that I never used to bang on about capacity factors and Environmental Impact Assessments!

My bias only kicked in only when I first started to explore the South Pennines, and to experience these effects for myself, totally unexpectedly. It was in Rossendale, I believe, that I first noticed something distinctly wrong with the landscape. In fact, I can actually pinpoint the very first moment of cognitive dissonance I experienced, and exactly where I was…mid-2014, driving along the A681 from Bacup towards Rawtenstall, somewhere near Waterfoot, and seeing the huge blades of the Scout Moor turbines, high over the skyline. “Ooh, there’s something very wrong with that,” I felt, intuitively. Still at this point I was your typical Green-minded, pro-renewables stooge. That was only 3 years ago. WOW!!!

I’ll refer back to my early wind farm education further over the course of the blog, but the reason I now draw upon that first encounter with Scout Moor is because I know (and I could possibly prove, were I to dig out my Facebook entries from the period) that what turned me into a Wind Warrior started with the psychological impact of a wind farm, nowhere near where I live, and a deeply unhealthy sensation that made my whole body recoil, as if my very atoms were being pulsated by a gigantic magnet.

I believe I left it that for a couple of weeks, but at this time I was driving regularly between Leeds and Manchester, and having gorged upon the unspoilt Peak for the last few years, I was starting to broaden my horizons and explore the block of Pennine hills immediately to the north. Lacking the same statutory protection as the Peak, well I refer back to my IT career: switch from a computer protected with antivirus, firewall, adblockers and 856 Windows Updates, to a computer running un-upgraded Vista, riddled with popups and spyware, on an unsecured, open wifi network. Traversing these unprotected hills, it didn’t take long to experience more and more wind blight.

By October I was attending my first Planning Enquiry meeting, to witness the rejection of the truly appalling Gorpley scheme by Calderdale Council. I’ll describe the meeting in detail in due course. But just three or four months and a handful of wind farms later…well, that’s how quickly I transformed from would-be Friends Of The Earth member, to someone with the motto: “With Friends like that, The Earth sure don’t need enemies!”

So no, I don’t work for an oil company. I’m not a NIMBY unless you view the whole world as our collective back yard, in which case it’s a badge I wear with honour. I don’t have a political axe to grind which I take out on poor defenceless wind scammers (a ludicrous claim Polly Toynbee once made about people only opposing wind farms in order to annoy the left! Dear God, do people really think like that?).

Yes I get angry and I mean every word of it, but I also critically think my anger and ask “what if I’m wrong?”

All I can say is…the wind turbines started it, not me! The wind turbines gave me an amygdala hijack, just going about my business. Everything subsequent comes from that immediate, negative neurological reaction to the turbines, not the other way round. I don’t know how much clearer to make that to people. I’d love there to be clean, green energy that saves the planet and lowers pollution. Wind turbines resembling trees is one of the best, most imaginative and empathetic suggestions I’ve ever heard (creative, synthesised thinking like that is exactly what the Green Party leadership needs, more than anything!)

But blade-based wind turbines, as they are, do so much psychological harm that we’re only just starting to understand, that all in all they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Especially when you factor in the opportunity cost to all the other ways we could be lowering carbon emissions, all those resources that could be better spent on the research and design of efficient, ergonomic and user-friendly energy generation, rather than throwing so much into the cruel, cruel wind.

I’ll conclude with one other canard often repeated on forums. Criticising wind blight is NOT defending oil or gas blight. Read other websites to find out more about them and their impacts. My instincts, and the opinions of many whom I trust, lean towards nuclear and coal (cleaner coal). I definitely prefer the look of Ferrybridge coal-fired power station (RIP) to even a single wind turbine, and if anything it’s even more in my back yard than the nearest wind farm (well, Hook Moor has recently come between us, but that’s a story for another time!)

Biomass seems like a scam, chopping down forests, burning wood and giving it a trendy-sounding name (actually Biomass would make a great name for a club night!). Fracking is a really tricky one for me, worthy of a whole entry in itself. Because the Greens and FotE have lost all credibility for me in terms of energy policy, I don’t believe a word they say about fracking. I’ve even seen it with my own eyes once; I barely even noticed due its tiny and aesthetically-pleasing visual impact, the small green “nodding donkeys” blending in smoothly with the surrounding RSPB Nature Reserve. But I’m risk averse, having been brutalised by wind, and I respect other people’s negative reactions to it (see the chapter about service delivery and not being a technocrat…) If we are to frack, we have to do it in a radically different way from how we’ve done wind, with Rule #1 being that any prior involvement with the wind scam automatically precludes an operator from obtaining a license to frack.

In a nutshell, the world really doesn’t need another blog about the environmental horror stories associated with oil. Been done, nothing more to add! Fracking might be one for the future, I’ll watch this space, and maybe throw it out there as a possible documentary idea, should anyone wish to collaborate with me… But right here, right now, there is still an awful lot more that urgently needs adding to the discourse about the negative psychological impact of wind blight.

That’s where my Wind Warrior friends around the world and I come in…

THIS IS A GREAT IDEA (IF IT WORKS)! http://www.iflscience.com/technology/new-wind-turbine-looks-tree-coming-paris/

Some comedy! The BTL comments set her straight, not that Lady Toynbee reads them. Wonder whether she’d find a 24-turbine industrial wind farm looming over her Tuscany villa quite as “majestic” as the ones towering over the council estates of Rochdale? Polly, love, if the Tories have engaged in war on wind farms, it’s because (gasp) THE ELECTORATE ASKED THEM TO. I know the idea of politicians responding to voters’ concerns is alien to you, but that’s how we do things in England. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/28/war-on-windfarms-tories-latest-sop-to-ukip

EDIT: How I accidentally discovered fracking: literally a wrong turn, whilst working on a contract installing routers and switches at every One Stop shop in the North Midlands (which helped teach me the geography of the area in great detail), I was driving from Worksop to Scunthorpe and tried to take a clever short-cut, which turned out to be a dead end leading only to the River Trent. I stopped to take some footage of the appalling wind turbine to my south (dominating the approach to Gainsborough), I span the camera around to get a 3D panorama, and there behind me, and I’d not even spotted it till I zoomed in, I saw the tiny, inconspicuous fracking site.

I mention this anecdote not to say fracking is totally spiffing and risk-free, but merely as another example of exactly HOW I find this stuff out and what kick-starts my research: the serendipity of life comes first, not the dogma. Experiences and empirical evidence derived from them lead me to create hypotheses which I then test, proactively looking for antitheses and seeing if my initial theses hold water. I actively encourage debate and logic-chopping! I generally start by exploring this wonderful island of ours (sometimes for pleasure, sometimes for work); I see what I see on my travels, I document it, I research it and then I share my findings with the world, inviting people’s feedback as a vital part of the discourse. My reaction to the fracking I witnessed was absolutely NOT formed by being “brainwashed by the right-wing media”, as I was moronically accused by some halfwit, but simply by taking a wrong turning near Gainsborough, stumbling across a real-life fracking site, and intuiting, based on my senses and brain activity: “This doesn’t actually look, sound or feel as toxic to me as a wind turbine”. FACT. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23756320

 

Royd Moor, Spicer Hill & Hazelhead

215-Spicer-Hill.jpg

Having introduced this unholy trifecta yesterday, it’s time to look a bit more closely into the process failure that has led to three separate wind developments effectively combining to form one giant wind farm. The logic behind this, I suppose, is to minimise the overall landtake by sticking all the wind turbines together in one location. Certainly, according to Wakefield Council, nowadays councils have to earmark specific zones as suitable for wind development and can only approve of wind farms in those restricted areas. That’s genuinely good news.

Maybe this belt of high land, the eastern extension of the Dark Peak that stretches along the northern banks of the River Don towards the periphery of Sheffield, is a suitable location for wind development. Relatively sparsely populated, yet less than 30 miles away from literally millions of inhabitants, the wild “bandit country” around Penistone would seem to be as good a location as any.

There are three key issues with the wind blight in this location, however. The first is general and universal – because the land is so high compared to the urbanised lowlands, the turbines dominate the skyline for dozens of miles. Nothing unusual here, but it’s a textbook example of the inherent design flaw that makes ALL high-altitude wind developments unacceptable. The damage done to the landscapes, and the impact of this industrial-scale degradation on our collective consciousness, is immense. Think of the famous “glass ceiling” that prevents people from reaching their true earning potential. Wind farms are “steel ceilings” that prevent people from reaching their psychological potential. They inhibit people’s Peak Experiences and make us feel small and insignificant. However, instead of this being a spiritual and emotionally uplifting experience, people being dwarfed by the mighty wonders of nature, it’s basically psychological torture; people being dwarfed by the mighty force of crony capitalist corporations.

(I should add, I’m not anti-capitalist, but crony capitalism isn’t the real deal, because it doesn’t involve making an honest profit from offering a better product or service than competitors; it involves people who aren’t good enough to succeed on their own merits, gaming the system to force their sub-par products onto a captive audience, whether they’d choose to buy them or not.)

The second issue is specific to all the wind farms surrounding the Peak and our other National Parks. I’m almost at the stage where I feel I need to explain about the social history of the Peak District, and just how the Kinder Trespass led to the formation of the officially designated National Parks. Suffice to say for now, a drive northwards along Mortimer Road will leave you in no doubt of just how damaging wind turbines are to our National Parks.

Mortimer Road (aka the Strines Road) starts on the A57, just east of the Ladybower Reservoir, and it offers an amazing opportunity for every single inhabitant of Planet Earth to experience what I refer to as the “alpha state”. In fact, there are dozens of similar roads around the Peak, which makes it such great driving country. I would also posit that driving in the alpha state is safer than in the normal beta state, because in spite of feeling calm and relaxed, you are conversely more “in the moment” and perceptive of your environment.

The alpha state is a psychological state of light meditation and mental wellbeing, almost dream-like in a way but simultaneously allowing us to harness our full capabilities. It is part of what Maslow means by a Peak Experience, in that it will only occur when all our lower needs have been fulfilled and we are able to gaze down upon our lives from a higher perspective. Ego dissolves and we connect with Mother Earth. The more time we spend in the alpha state, the happier and more well-balanced we are, so it really is a matter of moral necessity to encourage people to spend as much time as possible there, and to remove anything that inhibits that free-flowing lucidity of consciousness.

Does this all sound wacko? If so, your schooling was useless (as it was for 99% of us), because this is all science, and we should all know this stuff. I had to find out for myself, but neuroscience should be taught in all classrooms. We shouldn’t be telling people WHAT to think, we should be explaining HOW we think! It’s almost like we don’t want people to know, in fact we actively frown upon people taking control of their own cognitive processes. Luckily, I had one teacher, Mr Williams (Business Studies of all things, so absolutely as un-wacko as you can get!) to introduce me to Maslow, but the rest is all my own research.

Bear in mind this is about psychology, brain chemistry and mental health, based on the findings of the greatest minds of the 20th century. And I am saying that you can experience the alpha state for yourself, just by driving along an obscure road in South Yorkshire. Try it! Then get back to me. Rather than telling you WHAT to think, I’m asking you to drive Mortimer Road, and use its alpha qualities to observe HOW you think. Then we can compare notes.

What is it that gives Mortimer Road its alpha qualities? Running adjacent to the vast, unspoilt wilderness of the central Peak, Mortimer Road twists and turns over several almost identical looking stone bridges in dark, wooded valleys, offering it a repetitive, hypnotic and slightly disorientating quality (“haven’t I just been here a few minutes ago?”, it makes you think, a bit like a song that keeps coming back to the chorus, or even the bridge…)

The alpha state gets obliterated towards the northern end of Mortimer Road, as you reach the brow of an immensely steep hill and are instantly confronted with the terrible trio of wind farms, even though you are still in the National Park! “WHAT????”, your confused and amygdala-hijacked animal mind starts to panic. Experience it for yourself. Let me know if it has the same impact on you. Test my hypothesis! Allow the Mortimer Road journey to envelop you in its mesmerising haze, and then, just when you are totally immersed in healing alpha waves, see if you too feel yourself being psychologically slashed in the face by the brutal blades of the Royd Moor, Spicer Hill and Hazelhead wind farms.

The final issue (for now) relating to these wind farms is the obvious one, and another issue we will come back to. Cumulative impact and the natural impulse of wind scammers to expand their zone of operations, or to take advantage of any gap in protection so that they can squeeze in as many turbines as possible. Left unchecked, these predators would, by choice, take over every single field in the country, if they could. Why wouldn’t they, if it makes them money?

I have been told by an engineer, and I will research this further, that in fact only a handful of turbines in any one wind farm will operate at top capacity (and even that is rarely more than 25%). The rest of the turbines have significantly lower capacity than those on the edges. It’s kind of a no-brainer when you stop and think about it, there is only so much energy in the air at any given time, and once the first turbine has transferred much of that energy into electricity, there’s literally less energy available for the next turbine in line. So the more turbines, the more useless most of them actually are. One wonders if the turbines in the middle of all these conjoined wind farms actually generate any electricity at all!

I’ve just realised I’ve posted seven entries now and have yet to even mention climate change. Fact is, climate change is a red herring, a non-topic, totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is the psychological impact of wind turbines. The first step is to provide evidence their impact on mental health, which is what I’m doing. Someone once called me a “fucking lunatic” in an online debate, which only proves me right!

As I have already demonstrated, privately owned wind turbines are almost always an indication of failure, a last-ditch effort by struggling businesses to make ends meet, but I confess it’s still not clear to me exactly how the turbines generate any income. All I know is I don’t see any of it, that’s for sure, yet I still have to suffer the blight. It’s like a contractor justifying fly-tipping, on the basis that he would go out of business if he had to pay for the disposal of his rubbish, and the council saying “Sure, here’s a layby at a beauty spot just for you; go ahead, fill that layby with as much junk as you possibly can!”

Banning private wind turbines, and letting unsustainable small businesses go bust if they can’t survive without them, would be a better way of tackling climate change than the inefficient rigmarole of getting unpleasant turbines approved and constructed, all for the benefit of just a handful of people and to the detriment of everyone else.

When it comes to industrial wind farms like Royd Moor, Spicer Hill & Hazelhead, before we even mention climate change, we already have the issue of the corporatisation and industrialisation of our uplands, and its destructive impact on our health-giving National Parks, to be getting on with.

Even if man-made climate change is deemed to be the single most important and urgent issue we face, trashing our areas of natural beauty in order to solve the problem is on a par with Victorian ladies covering their faces in lead make-up in order to improve their complexion.

http://www.mindtosucceed.com/alpha-state-of-mind.html

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/1920068/science_proves_what_we_all_know_nature_is_good_for_your_health.html

http://curbarcycling.co.uk/the-strines/

 

 

Scammers, Malware & Trojan Horses

20140409-3

No response as yet from Wakefield Council [**a response came promptly after this post, see the edit at the end of the previous post**], and reading through my amygdala-hijacked rants of six months ago, I realise what a nutter I must have seemed. Maybe this blog is helping me shift towards a more neocortex-based communication style. But the anger is real, and it needs expressing. After all, as John Lydon reminded us, “Anger is an energy”, and it’s certainly as plentiful and renewable as the wind! If only we could turn anger into electricity…

Just as punk metamorphosed into post-punk, the intitial thunderstorm of raw anger soon giving birth to a brand new mainstream, so our instinctive anger about wind blight needs to be culturally transformative; it needs to continue on the journey to its logical destination, which is, believe it or not, peace. I don’t have a personal problem with anyone with whom I engage in discourse; sure, I initially come in like a barking mad Sergeant Major yelling at a recalcitrant cadet, to wake them out of their bureaucratic slumber and rote assumptions that we all just love fluffy wind turbines.

But then, if they bite, which they mostly do, I start to take them by surprise, when I show that my angry prose is effectively a DEMONSTRATION, a piece of self-aware performance art, almost like a punk song. My reason for starting my official comms in this way is my essential belief that, on a human level, almost everyone I deal with is a good person who genuinely has no idea of the emotional impact of the policies they enact, day in, day out.

Maybe my approach has been borne out of the fact that often it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. Our politicians and councillors need to be made aware of the emotional impact of the decisions they make. You see it with IT – you don’t need me to tell you what broken computers do to people’s emotional temperature! And in particular we as technicians and engineers should never forget this. We should not be technocrats; we are first and foremost here for service delivery. If the customers don’t like the way we provide our service, then we either change our model to better satisfy them, or else we go out of business. End of. We don’t expect to continue inflicting shitty service on people who constantly tell us how much it’s making their life hell.

If me failing in my IT job results in someone crying (due to lost work, missed deadlines etc), then I need to acknowledge the lack of service delivery, and analyse what process failure triggered their negative emotions. There WILL have been a process failure. People don’t just get upset for no reason. If I can reassure them, and resolve whatever has affected their wellbeing, then that should be my first, second and third priority.

You can think of this blog (weblog) as like an IT error log. Calling me names, insulting me, or even claiming I work for an oil company (as one deluded fool once did, which shows how much they know), simply for writing down the impact of wind turbines on my mental processes, is like shouting at a computer for keeping an event log. It’s just a journal, which is what journalism is all about, tracking what happened, where, when, to whom, and with what impact.

There may come a time, weeks or months from now, in which troubleshooting some wind turbine-related emergency will be made easier by referring back to the log of events immediately prior to the catastrophe. And I would say there’s at least a 50% chance of some major wind turbine related disaster happening within my lifetime. My money is on a loose turbine blade flying onto a motorway and causing a multi-vehicle pile up, or possibly an Aberfan-style landslide caused by inappropriate construction on a mountain. A bit like the Derrybrien Peat Slide, only with deaths. I hate to be morbid, but that’s why I blog. I get bad thoughts and feelings from wind turbines; nobody listens when you try and express it amongst urban “intellectuals” (haha); so, just as the Grenfell residents must have concluded, having had their fears fall on deaf ears for months, what’s left but to keep a blog?

In fact, working in IT has been of the essence in understanding wind blight and exactly how we need to identify and patch the security vulnerabilities in our eco*SYSTEM*; if any IT Group Policy was set up and administered in such a haphazard, illogical and ignorant way as Wind Turbine Planning Policy, the whole network topology would very quickly be overrun by scammers, malware and Trojan Horses. Ahem…

The topology of Barnsley could do with some Turbine AVG. I have such a soft spot for Barnsley. Maybe it started with Kes. Alexei Sayle’s immortal “‘Ullo John Gotta New Motor” features the all-time classic gibberish line: “‘E lost ‘is bottle in Barnsley, ‘e lost ‘is bottle in Barnsley”! If you’re ever in the town centre, be sure to visit the lovely Cooper Gallery, a beautiful place of artistic inspiration 🙂

The borough of Barnsley stretches way out into the Dark Peak, reaching its highest point at Howden Edge, over 500m above sea level. More about the Peak later. I can’t believe I’ve not mentioned it yet. Oh, I will. In detail. Great detail… All in good time though.

I turned off the M1 just after Wooley Edge and meandered through some of Barnsley’s gorgeous Pennine foothill countryside, via the stunning village of High Hoyland and the immaculate grounds of Cannon Hall.

I turned right onto the A635, one of the most epic roads of the North, and one that will give any Southerner a real appreciation for the variety of landscapes up here, nice and not so nice. The road actually wends its way from Doncaster to Manchester, via Barnsley, Holmfirth, Saddleworth Moor (the dramatic Isle Of Skye Road), Stalybridge and Ashton-under-Lyne. I’d have loved to have carried on over the tops, but in the event I barely scraped half a mile, before forking off left onto South Lane.

To my left, down near the urban area, and far too near to high density housing for comfort, I saw three toxic-looking wind turbines, gleaming artificially and disfiguring the skyline.

To my right, I saw the first full-on industrial wind farm since starting this blog. Well, three of them. Impossible to tell where each one ends and the next one begins. Spicer Hill, Royd Moor and the utterly horrendous Hazelhead.

It’s late, and I think these three abominations of wind farms deserve a fresh round of intellectual ammo, but I just wanted to introduce these monstrous eyesores, the towering wall of steel that now stands between Barnsley and the Peak. Poor, poor Barnsley.

At the top of South Lane I joined another great Trans-North road, the A629, one of very few to pass through South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire as it makes its way from Rotherham to Skipton, via Huddersfield, Halifax and Keighley. The section I travelled, southwards towards Wortley, offers an incredible panorama over vast swathes of Yorkshire. At the A616 junction, I turned off onto Woodhead Road, which climbs even higher, reaching its pinnacle just north of Greno Woods.

If you’re sceptical about the extent of wind turbine impact, get yourself up to Woodhead Road and look down on the surrounding countryside. It is still an amazing, gobsmacking view, possibly stretching a hundred miles left to right, but you’ll see for yourself just how gauchely the wind turbines stand out.

In my opinion, they have a more negative visual impact than even the coal-fired power stations!

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-05-16/giant-wind-turbine-blade-collapses-on-german-motorway-after-truck-crash/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Derrybrien_landslide

 

Wind Blight @ Park Mill Lane, Ossett

maxresdefault

As there may well be a lot of turbine impact later today, I will start by describing what I remember of the blight from memory. Later on I’ll be able to describe what I see today, but first on the agenda: Rhubarb!

I’ve already talked about the Knostrop and Harper Farm turbines, both visible along the southern exit route from Leeds. The M621 twists and turns its way towards the M1, which merges from the left in a road layout known as a TOTSO (Turn Off To Stay On). From the south, it means you have to turn off the M1 to stay on it! Almost immediately after picking up the M1 from the north, the interchange with the M62 appears ahead. Despite the plethora of motorways and sliproads, the Green Belt protection has ensured that all around is a contiguous belt of fields, woodland and rhubarb. Lots of it, as we are now entering the Rhubarb Triangle.

What does it say, that an isolated wind turbine, serving only the owners and workers of Harper Farm, has a more detrimental impact to the landscape, and is more damaging to the integrity of the Green Belt, than the interchange between the M1 and M62???

Just let that thought sink in for a few seconds…

A single, private, “small” wind turbine has more visual impact, on more people, than a three-level intersection between the M1 and the M62, two of the busiest motorways in the country. 

And this isn’t just my opinion, look at the Harper Farm blight map and see for yourself just how far its unpleasant visual impact spreads. Whereas you could be standing in a rhubarb field near Rothwell, and be almost blissfully unaware of the motorways passing adjacently. Almost, I suppose, noise being the big problem with motorways. But motorways have nowhere near as much negative visual impact as wind turbines, and that’s what I find fascinating. What is it about the shape, colour, design and location of wind turbines that has such a negative “vibe”? How come motorways can effortlessly blend into the rural landscape, almost resembling rivers, whereas wind turbines immediately cast a drab, tired pall over their surroundings?

One possible theory is that motorways are, all in all, a force for good, of benefit to society, and generally regarded as the most efficient and least destructive way of incorporating a transportation network into our environment. Whereas wind turbines are gratuitously destructive to local landscapes, almost deliberately so, it sometimes appears. Motorway constructors certainly put 100% more effort into aesthetics, sympathetic landscaping and minimising the overall impact of their construction work, whereas the cut-price wind cowboys seem to actively get their kicks from defacing unspoilt places of natural beauty, in as crass and philistine a fashion as possible.

Case in point: the turbine at Park Mill Lane, near Ossett, which someone has very kindly filmed with a Drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_WFhTDFSc8) – ooh, what does their description say: “Never seen any planning for it”!

HERE WE GO AGAIN! Isn’t it amazing, as I hope you are now starting to see. Practically every turbine has a weird tale attached to it; more often than not there seems to be something a bit off about the process of how they came to be approved and constructed. If only Lt. Columbo was still around, he’d have a field day getting to the bottom of the wind scam. I’m happy to apply Columbo techniques on his behalf, although if my wife was ever a big fan of turbine developers, I’d file for divorce right away!

So we’ve got no further than the edge of Wakefield and once again there’s a turbine-related mystery to be solved… let’s do some investigation.

I must confess, I’ve actually already brought this one to the attention of Wakefield Council, one of several separate letters that I am now assimilating into this all-inclusive blog. Do you want to read what I wrote to Wakefield Council, back in March 2017?

Dear Sir/Madam

I hope you can help me. I am writing to request as strongly as possible that the wind turbine off Park Mill Lane is removed as soon as possible, as it is extremely harmful to my mental health and well-being, its visual presence highly inappropriate and oppressive, its impact on the environment for miles around highly negative, and it can be proven to depreciate property within sight of it (see London School of Economics report “Gone With The Wind” for evidence of the negative impacts of wind turbines). Furthermore there is no evidence of any environmental benefits of wind turbines whatsoever. I am also struggling to find details of the planning application for this turbine. Are you able to provide me with more information about its planning application, its performance and its environmental impact please?

For the above reasons and several others (please see links below), I am now committed to overseeing the compulsory removal of every single wind turbine across Wakefield over the next twenty years, with mandatory 25 year jail sentences for non-compliance. Wind turbine owners will be asked to remove their horrible blight, and if they don’t, they will be forced to.

This particular turbine caught my attention from miles away, ruining my sense of well-being by disfiguring the landscape. It is unacceptable for me and against my human rights to be forced to experience the torture of turbine blight against my will, and I will fight this eco-menace at every step of the way.

Please advise me what steps are available to me to campaign for the removal of every useless wind turbine across Wakefield, and how can I ensure not a single new destructive turbine is built in the borough.

Kind regards

*Mr Peak Protection* (of course, I gave my real name…I always do!)

To which I received the reply:

Dear *Mr Peak Protection*

I write in response to your email as below.

I should advise that full planning permission for the siting of 1no. 36.4m high (hub) wind turbine on land to the east of Park Mill Lane Ossett was granted on 6 March 2014. Details of the application can be obtained from the Council’s website via the following link: https://planning.wakefield.gov.uk/online-applications/. Please insert planning reference number 13/00524/FUL in the search criteria, view the relevant application and then view ‘associated documents’. All information associated with the application is available to view here including plans, case officer report and consultation responses.

The development benefits from full planning permission and the Local Planning Authority has no grounds upon which to require its removal.

I trust you will be able to obtain the information that you are looking for in the on-line file.

Regards

*Senior Planning Officer*

My next salvo:

Dear *Senior Planning Officer*

Many thanks for your prompt, courteous and informative reply. I appreciate at the time the turbine referred to was approved by the local authority. However I still have some queries which you have not answered:

(1) How I can lodge a formal complaint about the negative impact of this wind turbine on my well-being and the overall adverse effect of the local environment? What is the process I should follow in order to ensure the negative impacts of the turbine are logged officially?

(2) How can I keep track of all upcoming wind turbine applications in Wakefield, and what steps are available to me to oppose every single turbine proposal, on grounds of extremely negative impact on the environment and well-being of Wakefield residents?

In addition, could you please advise me how I can monitor the performance of the turbine to ensure it is having an objectively verified positive effect on the environment, which is (I presume) the claimed reason permission was granted for an otherwise inappropriate industrial structure in the Green Belt?

I do hope this matter can be resolved without the need for legal help.

Kind regards

*Mr Peak Protection*

The next reply was awesome (and the reason I enjoy letter writing…IT’S ALL ABOUT DIALOGUE!!!):

Dear *Mr Peak Protection*

The Council’s complaints procedures are detailed on the webpage found via the following link: http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/site/contact/compliments-and-complaints. If a complaint is made through this method it will be investigated by the Development Manager and registered accordingly.

A guide to the Public Access pages of the Planning Section of the website can be viewed via the following link: http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/site/contact/compliments-and-complaints. At page 6 of this guide an ‘Advanced Search’ option is detailed. Within that there is an option to search application details by ‘Description Keyword’. I think using the word ‘turbine’ in this section would be the most appropriate way to identify all applications relating to wind turbines. There is an option to register for alerts within a certain postcode area but there is no option to register for alerts based on application type and as you are concerned about the whole District I am unable to suggest any alternative option. Clearly this is not guaranteed but I think it is the only way I can suggest to try keep track of such application types at this time.

As an aside I have carried out a search using this method. Other than an application for a non-material amendment to an extant consent in 2016 it would appear that the Local Planning Authority has not received a planning application for a new wind turbine since 2014. I am also aware that I have certainly not dealt with any new applications for such since the Written Ministerial Statement of 18 June 2015 was issued.

The Case Officer report, available in the on-line file, provides the full planning assessment of this particular application.

There is no requirement for the Developer to provide details of the performance of the turbine to the Local Planning Authority. I can only suggest contacting the applicant directly via his Agent, the details of which are again available in the on-line file for a which I gave a link previously.

I would encourage you to read the case officer report for this application to see the full assessment of the turbine. All planning application assessments have to consider the social, economic and environmental aspects of development as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework. These are all fed into the planning balance in reaching a recommendation on all applications. In relation to wind turbines the environmental benefits are only one aspect of the assessment.

In relation to monitoring thereafter, there is no legal requirement on the Local Planning Authority to monitor the performance of turbines. As with all applications, the information submitted by applicants has to be taken in good faith. Unfortunately the Authority does not have a compliance service for any planning permissions.

As you will be aware there has been a significant change in National Planning Guidance since this application was determined. Namely the requirement for Authorities to allocate suitable areas for wind energy development in Local or Neighbourhood Plans. At present, the Wakefield Local Plan does not have any such allocations and any applications would now have to be assessed in light of this.

Regards

*Senior Planning Officer*

I’m sure this is an awful lot of words for people to wade through, but you know, that’s how the turbine operators often get away with it – they overload people with ridiculously long, opaque passages that pretty much bore the public into rolling over and accepting the turbines, without feeling they can stand against this juggernaut of bureaucracy. Labyrinthine policy frameworks are quoted at length, with the main aim of shutting out any kind of informed opposition. It takes patience, brainpower and assiduous attention to detail to slowly, steadily work one’s way through the planning applications, looking for things that don’t stack up, or even just the omission of important data. Yup, Lt. Columbo would be the perfect guy to pull the rug from under the feet of the smug wind criminals. I am honoured to use his sleuthing skills as my inspiration. And once again this means trawling carefully through the planning application and discovering exactly why this turbine was requested.

Just before delving into the murky planning application, we should acknowledge one great piece of news: the letter from the Council refers to the change in policy, which means that Wakefield has no sites earmarked for future wind development, no outstanding applications and nowhere to put them anyway now. THANK GOD! So it’s just the Ossett monster that needs tackling. Right: why was it requested?

Half an hour of trawling through the planning documents later, and I have not been able to isolate the initial request for the turbine. Let’s fire off another message to Wakefield Council and see if they can shed some light on it! I am literally about to compose this message right here, right now! Nice to share my modus operandi in real-time…

Dear *Senior Planning Officer*

You may remember I wrote to you six months ago in order to raise a complaint about the above Planning Application, and you very kindly replied with some very useful information for me.

I am now in a position to assimilate the data about several local wind turbines into a formal investigation about the impact of wind turbines on mental health, and I hope it is acceptable to you that I use information about the Ossett wind turbine in my report. I have just one follow-up question, which I sincerely hope can be answered without taking up too much of your time.

You pointed me to the Planning Application for 13/00524/FUL and I am trying to locate the initial application letter, in order to find out who the applicant was, and the specific reason the turbine was requested. I might have missed it, but I could not locate the original application request in these documents. Would you be able to point me in the right direction. I need to see the specific application request and the reasons given by the applicant for wanting to erect the turbine.

I am copying this email, plus your reply (if that is acceptable) into a public blog. Many thanks once again for being so helpful and considerate!

http://cominoweb.wakefield.gov.uk/Planning/lg/dialog.page?Param=lg.Planning&org.apache.shale.dialog.DIALOG_NAME=gfplanningsearch&SDescription=13/00524/FUL&viewdocs=true

Yours sincerely

*Mr Peak Protection*

SENT! Let’s see exactly why this turbine was requested, by whom and for what reason, because it’s not immediately obvious from the above documentations!

EDIT: I’ve had a reply! Massive respect to Wakefield Council, who have consistently been responsive and informative. I am taking the liberty of sharing the link to the Design And Access Statement, so you can read and make up your own mind. It’s 37 pages long, and just one of almost 100 documents required for the construction of the turbine. Yet again, the sole beneficiary of the turbine is just one farm business, with absolutely no benefit to anyone else. Yet again it seems to have taken legions of planners and officials to pave the way for the construction of just one turbine, with a visual impact on thousands. Yet again, the overriding impression one gets is of a lumbering, inefficient, massively wasteful blight on public services, public finances and public landscapes, all for the survival of one struggling business.

Whenever you see a wind turbine, what you’re looking at is the face of failure. No wonder it’s depressing!

One interesting observation to end with: Paragraph 1.9 of the Design And Access Statement claims that the grey colour of the turbine is designed to  “blend into a dull, cloudy background”. THAT SAYS IT ALL! The turbine is literally designed to be dull. So get this, Endurance (the DelBoy outfit behind the turbine): your drab turbine will never brighten up a grey sky, but it will ALWAYS darken a clear blue sky with its cheerless, lifeless, one shade of grey.

http://cominoweb.wakefield.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningDocuments.page

Turbine Torture Around The World

scoutmoorRESIZE920x612-20170707113901176

Working from home today so no turbine spotting. Tomorrow I’m off to Mansfield, with a lot of turbines en route. I’d love to delve deep into the planning history of all of them, and over time I will, but for the purposes of tomorrow’s blog I’ll just focus on the ones that have a noticeable impact on my cognitive processes.

Today’s entry is a snapshot of the different wind battles being fought around the world, and a welcome chance to repudiate one of the common insults hurled at wind protestors. Namely, that we are all selfish NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard)! In fact, when it comes to wind turbines, I am more of a BANANA – Build Absolutely None Anywhere Near Anyone. Quite frankly, if the Green Party had more Bananas and fewer Watermelons, we might not have this problem in the first place.

My local turbine is 9 miles away, over on the other side of Leeds. I knew nobody in Rochdale when I first started my Crook Hill Eco Disaster photoblog, although I got to meet several wonderful people along the way, all lovely, civilised, hard-working members of the community struggling to fight off the onslaught from all sides by avaricious wind developers. Far from being NIMBYs, most activists view this as a global issue, and are just as motivated to remove wind blight from beautiful landscapes thousands of miles away as in their own backyard.

I also know several people who voted UKIP specifically because they considered UKIP’s energy policy to be the most sustainable. The ludicrously wide-of-the-mark assumptions that are made about these voters (many of whom switched to the Conservatives, some even Labour, at the last election) totally misunderstand what drives them to vote this way. I can tell you, it has NOTHING to do with race, maybe a bit to do with immigration (a cross-party issue, with just as many “Old Labour” voters wanting tougher immigration policy as UKIP voters), but everything to do with environmentalism. These UKIP voters absolutely do not have a Little Englander mentality, indeed they have links with different groups all around the world, sharing common experiences and lending support to stand up to the globalist wind bullies, no matter which country they are desecrating. I would even go so far as to suggest many UKIP voters care more about protecting the German and French countryside than their Labour or Conservative counterparts!

I’m not a UKIP voter, but I have something called empathy, and having opened my mind and engaged with many UKIP voters, I totally get it, even if my preferred approach is to shift the Overton Window within the other parties towards a more sensible energy policy. The Tories talk the talk, and to be fair are now starting to walk the walk, but does anyone (even small-c conservatives) TRUST the Tories, as an organisation? Will they just say what their voters want to hear, but then do nothing tangible to remove the problem? Rejecting the Scout Moor expansion was a promising sign, so I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, for now, at least on this issue, but I’ll be watching like a hawk to check there’s no chicanery or playing with words. Be afraid of what we’re capable of, Mr Gove, but get it right and we’ll support you all the way.

The simple truth is that the man who penned the rejection documents for the Scout Moor expansion, Mr Sajid Javid, is a hero to all Wind Warriors, for his wise and considerate decision not to allow any further eco-destruction of the moors north of Manchester. If you’re a true friend of British soil, nobody cares about your skin colour or religious upbringing – we just want politicians who’ll use their authority on behalf of this green and pleasant land, and if it takes a man of Pakistani heritage to stand up for the environment more effectively than any Caucasian politician, then he’ll be backed 100%.

Here’s another thesis for you, a daring one maybe, but let me suggest it and see what you think: it maybe that ACTUAL racism is being triggered in some places by wind turbines. “They’re coming over here….they’re taking over our country….they’re destroying our culture…” Might it be possible that certain people are inadvertently experiencing psychological transference? SOMETHING is making them feel under threat, attacking their amygdala, but the idea that the root cause might in fact be infrasonic frequencies from wind turbines is so outside the Overton Window, it never even crosses anybody’s mind. Except mine.

And it’s not just racism that might be exacerbated, but a general feeling of anxiety, pressure, threat and foreboding that could manifest itself in street violence, domestic abuse and other antisocial behaviour. Once again, wind turbines on their own would be a very difficult culprit to pin the blame on (not impossible, were government to take this thesis seriously and at least test it scientifically), but if you look at a map, you’ll see a very clear correlation between wind blight and votes for the more “xenophobic” parties. People even sometimes ask how come areas with low immigration have such strongly anti-immigration attitudes. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the wind turbines rather than the immigrants making them feel this way?! It’s just another thesis, one of many…

Well, now you realise that we are not all reactionary, racist NIMBYs – in fact we have a global consciousness built upon sharing information and experiences from around the whole world, discriminating against people not on race, gender or sexuality but solely on the harm they cause to nature – it’s time to share with you some links from A Day In The Life of my news feed…

Australia: https://stopthesethings.com/2017/09/15/australias-massive-power-price-hike-caused-by-intermittent-wind-solar/

Canada: http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2017/09/17/lawyer-alan-whiteley-ontarios-electricity-ponzi-scheme/

USA: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/09/17/another-climate-scam-money-intended-for-climate-goes-to-union-boost/

Germany: https://www.strom-magazin.de/strommarkt/orkantief-sebastian-stellt-stromnetz-auf-die-probe_209934.html

France: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=785597698309711&id=100005784639575

Wind Blight @ Harper Farm, New Farnley

nike

Rather than trawling chronologically through my journey with wind turbines, I’m throwing caution to the wind (as it were) and simply saying what I see, when I see it, then using each discovery to share with you the Alice-In-Wonderland world that lies underneath every shiny picture of a “sleek” new wind turbine.

At 5pm this afternoon I went on a short drive across South Leeds with a friend. “This is a rough area”, said my friend, and not more than 30 seconds later (he will attest to this), as if on cue a large turbine loomed over the horizon. What was that I was saying about a symbiotic relationship between turbine developments and deprived areas?

This area, Farnley, is not actually that bad, but equally not that great. It’s one of the many large overspill estates that have transformed former villages into the vast conurbation of West Yorkshire. A cluster of old buildings survive amongst the suburban sprawl. The turbine itself is located half a mile to the south at Harper Farm, just outside New Farnley, a separate settlement straddling the A58.

Visible from all directions due to the prominence of the ridge, this turbine is certainly not subtle in its appearance. You can see it from Elland Road Stadium and all the way along the M621 between Churwell and Morley. The otherwise rural Green Belt setting, surrounded on pretty much all sides by towns and cities, has certainly been compromised, shifting the character of the landscape another notch closer to edgy urban fringe, rather than relaxing countryside. It has changed the energy of South West Leeds for the worse, even in the short time I have lived here (since 2013), degrading one of the nearest hilly landscapes to the City Centre. Areas such as Wortley and Armley have also had their rural vistas blighted by the turbine’s aggressively spinning blades.

Bearing in mind the industrial past of vast swathes of West Yorkshire, does this rogue wind turbine really warrant paragraphs and paragraphs of complaint? My answer is the “broken window” theory – one broken window attracts others, once the precedent has been set. When it comes to wind turbines, if just one mislocated turbine is allowed through, it makes it that much harder to reject further applications that are no materially different, and this is a very real phenomenon leading to “cumulative impact”, as we shall further explore when we head out into Kirklees.

This single turbine at Harper Farm is as good as any to evaluate and use as a template upon which to formulate a policy that applies to turbines across the board. Exceptions and special cases may come to light, but as a starting point, let’s ask ourselves: exactly what IS our attitude to turbine placement, as a society? Where do we draw the line? Even the SNP wouldn’t countenance a wind farm on Arthur’s Seat (well actually, knowing them, the HGV access tracks are probably already under construction…)

We already have stringent planning laws in place, particularly pertaining to the conservation of the Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Parks. So the logical place to start is with the law, as it stands, and to understand just how it is that wind turbines are given permission in places where virtually no other type of development would be allowed.

The case for the Harper Farm turbine was this:

“The major supermarket customers of Harper Farm products are constantly striving to reduce their carbon footprint, and produce marketable, sustainable products, and are increasingly looking to their suppliers to make the same commitment. The need to demonstrate best practice and sustainable production is expected, with markets demanding higher environmental standards from their supply chain, and buyers requesting support from suppliers to help meet their commitments. For Harper Farm, in a competitive market the ability to demonstrate that the farm business is working hard to support buyers’ environmental strategies is becoming increasingly important to maintain business. This is supported and promoted by Oakland’s Farm Eggs, to which Harper Farm supply the majority of their eggs, who themselves are committed to ensuring sustainable food production.

Energy prices are also increasing and to ensure production remains viable, both environmentally and financially, a sustainable energy supply is essential. As the Harper Farm business is a relatively large consumer of electricity, they are acutely aware of the need to achieve maximum efficiencies and in this regard are always looking to employ the most energy efficient production systems available. The farm has recently installed a small roof mounted solar PV system, with zero environmental impact, and this is already assisting to offset the farm’s power consumption. In order to put the farm business on a firmer footing they are now considering a wind turbine, which as well as being a sound business proposition would clearly demonstrate to their customers, a commitment as their supplier, to a ‘greener’ and more ‘sustainable’ product.”

They all seem like perfectly valid business cases for a turbine, sure, but essentially that is really all they are, business cases. See how the words ‘greener’ and ‘sustainable’ are in quotation marks. Looking through my own writing, I see I sometimes (though not always) use quotation marks when using a word how other people would tend to use it, rather than maybe how I would use it myself. If the above case followed my own grammatical principles, it would imply that being “greener” was merely how the operation comes across to the public, not actually greener (no quotes). The quotes – imagine doing them with your fingers – imply it’s not for real somehow. Either way, the gist of the application is that the farm is struggling, the supermarkets are pressurising them to do this for some reason (hmm…), and one way or another they will make enough money from erecting the turbine to just about stay in business.

The Harper Farm wind turbine is a symptom of failure and financial hardship. It indicates a pressing need for money that clearly isn’t coming from the straightforward sale of produce. When we stare at this turbine, we are apparently looking at a financial lifeline for an otherwise loss-making farm. So HOW is it making them money? And is it worth it? If the farm went out of business, its carbon footprint would drop to zero. Not that I want to see the closure of any business, especially a long-running family business, but if it can only get by with income generated by a wind turbine, wouldn’t the truly green course of action be to accept defeat, walk away and leave the countryside unspoilt? Where on earth is the turbine revenue coming from anyway? And at what cost to the community?

While we’re asking some questions, here’s another…the wind at 5pm this afternoon was barely 1 or 2 on the Beaufort scale, yet the Harper Farm wind turbine was spinning at high speed. It was rotating significantly faster than the wind speed. HOW???

As a Beginner’s Guide To Wind Turbine Applications (And How To Oppose Them), the following links on Leeds City Council’s Planning Portal offer a great overview of the kind of documentation required to obtain planning permission. Is all this work added to the carbon footprint of the wind turbine? There are pages and pages of documentation, and as always “The Devil is in the details”. In this case, the Council approved the turbine, which, despite sticking in the craw, is a noticeably different scenario from those turbines rejected at a local level and approved on appeal, more of which in due course.

A good starting point is the Landscape & Visual Assessment, which you can find towards the end of the Planning Application Documents. This shows that the blight is known about in advance, accepted and approved of by Leeds City Council. It’s not an accident or an oversight – it was a conscious decision to prioritise Harper Farm’s survival over the quality of life for other residents. At this stage of my research, I’m not even saying that’s wrong, it’s just the logical conclusion drawn from reading the Planning Application. You can see in black and white (well, purple and white), the extent of the area blighted by the turbine, and yet looking through the documentation, I have failed to find any acknowledgment whatsoever from the council that this blight might have a harmful or unpleasant impact on those areas affected.

My conclusion is that every resident of South West Leeds is paying a little, both in money and in quality of life, for the survival of one small, struggling business, Harper Farm. The wind turbine is simply a conduit via which energy is transferred, from the many to the few.

https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NM60R3JB17S00

Click to access Wind_Turbine.pdf

 

 

 

Welcome To MindWind

21752293_10155645747094242_7958450993978524127_n

Welcome to MindWind. The aim of this blog is to journal in real-time the impact of wind turbines on my mental health and well-being. The impetus for creating this blog was an online debate in which several links I posted were refuted, relating to alleged health issues caused by wind turbines in humans and animals such as horses, and even possibly whales, THE LARGEST MAMMAL ON THE PLANET! This is all baseless conjecture, I was told, much like those early smokers trying to prove that their health had been ravaged by cigarettes. All just anecdotal evidence with no actual scientific proof (ignoring the peer-reviewed evidence I had presented them).

How are we supposed to prove the impact of a stimulus on our mental health? Do we have to slaughter a bunch of wind scammers in order to “prove” that our mental health has been disturbed by their eco-destruction? Is a written testimony admissible evidence? At least by documenting the times and locations of disturbances to my mood, I am adding data to the public discourse, for people to no doubt reject as “all in my mind” (that’s the point!), or potentially, if I am lucky, to persuade people that there is a clear and direct causal link between exposure to wind turbines and my cognitive processes.

Over the course of the blog I will elaborate more about the wind scam and its horrendous impact on our planet as a whole, but to conclude this introduction I would like to demonstrate, as a “control”, what I believe constitutes perfectly functioning mental health. I would draw upon the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow as my personal reference for good mental health. Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs explains how a perfectly functioning human will focus their mental activity on fulfilling their survival needs, starting with the base physiological needs such as sleep, shelter, food, water, air etc, and only once these have been fulfilled moving up to higher needs – friendship, self-esteem, belonging etc.

The highest echelons of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are dedicated to those lofty goals of self-actualisation, and for fleeting moments when we are experiencing the apex of existence, the Peak Experience. Although this can be seen as a mystical, transcendental experience, Maslow was fundamentally referring to a psychological state – the state of having literally nothing to worry about, no stress, no unfulfilled needs, as close to “heaven on earth” as we could imagine. Look back through your life and remember the happiest you have ever been – that would have been a Peak Experience.

Of course needs change and need refulfilling regularly, and we humans are complicated creatures who will sometimes put our need for friendship over our need for sleep! But, for most of us, most of the time, we start with good sleep, good food, plenty of fresh air, enabled by a good job that not only pays for our basic wellbeing but also offers us higher rewards such as job satisfaction, respect from peers, and if we are really lucky, self-actualisation where we are using all of our talents. A good job will offer regular Peak Experiences – the chance to achieve your personal peak performance, whether it be athletic, or cerebral, or kinesthetic in some way. I am lucky at present to have such a job – and having done many that left me unfulfilled, I recognise and acknowledge the very high plateau of satisfaction this job offers me.

I am typing from my comfortable home in suburban North Leeds. Although money is not plentiful, I get by following the basic maxim “earn more than you spend”, a lesson hard learnt from years of profligacy. Well, it wasn’t wasted money – it was money spent exploring every nook and cranny of the North of England, and occasionally Wales. More geography later.

It’s a Saturday afternoon, and later tonight I am going to do some recording for my Peak City Radio show. This will fulfil my social and self-actualisation needs. I will make sure to eat well, and maybe indulge a little in my need for light intoxication later! Luckily I am not cursed with the need to blow my brains out with booze or drugs, but it’s a perfectly normal animal need to experience a nice warm fuzz every now and then.

As long as nothing hijacks my amygdala, the “fight or flight” part of my brain that will immediately alert me to a potential threat to my wellbeing, my behaviour will mainly be controlled by my neocortex, responding I hope in proportion to the stimuli I will experience. It’s my neocortex that is helping me write this, as opposed to the pure amygdala hijack that triggered my rants in the original wind turbine debate that sparked this. I definitely prefer using my neocortex, but social media debates are tailor-made to assault the amygdala!

What I am saying is: I know my own mind. I follow the experts in understanding what constitutes perfectly functioning mental health. Critical thinking and seeing both sides are of the essence. Literally being well-balanced. Logic AND emotion working together. Recognising cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias, not saying I am immune from them, but spotting them when they occur and reminding myself that my interpretation of external stimuli is just as prone to misperceptions as anyone else’s.

As I say – this opening essay is simply a control demonstration. This is me writing from a position nearer the heights of self-actualisation, rather than in order to fulfill any lower needs (eg churning out copy for money, or to boost my ego in an debate!). This early demonstration of my writing is about laying out “evidence” of my mental faculties operating at peak performance – long words and all!

Edit: Reading back and finetuning the above text, adding additional comments like this, is a great example of using these all-important critical faculties to demonstrate exactly how rational and sane I am under control conditions. To “prove” that, when not suffering from an amygdala hijack, I have the capacity to be a perfectly functioning human animal.

Now, let’s see how wind turbines affect me…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11736728/Wind-turbines-may-trigger-danger-response-in-brain.html

Click to access handling-the-hijack.pdf

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/maslow-hierarchy-needs