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Wind Turbines are ruining Devon and Cornwall

Wind Farm © Sarah Burroughs

Wind Farm © Sarah Burroughs

Press Release from CPRE Devon and CPRE Cornwall – Wind Turbines are ruining Devon and Cornwall

Many of us in the West Country were sympathetic or neutral about wind turbines when the industry started in the UK. After all, the general proposition is attractive. Wind is clean and free and especially plentiful in Devon and Cornwall. Therefore it must contribute to energy security and reduce pollution and at a low cost?

But like anything else that looks too good to be true – it certainly is! Wind Turbines are a scam on the UK taxpayer. Few would be built but for the unsustainable level of subsidy provided by the taxpayer through their electricity bills – particularly from those on lower incomes or the poorer and deprived sections of our community. Conversely the well off are enriched as they harvest taxpayer money rather than crops.

Too many Wind Turbines blight our countryside and are damaging Devon and Cornwall’s once pristine landscape. Their cumulative impact is damaging to tourism; and there are many, many more in the pipeline in both counties. People start up or relocate their businesses and many retire to Devon and Cornwall to enhance their quality of life – why should they do that when our counties’ landscapes are increasingly being despoiled?

These huge power plants are growing ever larger in size – some taller than many of London’s major buildings. Simultaneously, conventional power stations have to be burning fuel on standby to ensure continuity of supply when the wind drops – and this standby power cannot be stored. Most wind power companies are overseas owned so most of the profit from this subsidy goes abroad. And these companies cannot ever lose out as they are paid very large sums NOT to supply power when demand falls!

Wind turbines can be damaging to health – they can and do disturb sleep patterns when near to housing. In 2011, one of the major utility companies settled out of court with a couple who had moved to the countryside for its tranquility, only to have their quality of life ruined by wind turbines erected nearby. They then had to sell their house at 18% below its valuation to escape the locality.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England – CPRE – is not a NIMBY organisation but exists to protect the coast and countryside of England from wanton development for the benefit of everybody.  Wind Turbines are ruining much of what is beautiful in both Devon and Cornwall. The Government is at last recognizing the political and economic consequences of its wind turbine policy as more than 100 MPs and many in the countryside increasingly object. The “National Opposition to Wind Farms” (NOW) campaign, launched today – www.nowind.org.uk – is but one of many. CPRE is a strong supporter of other forms of Renewable Energy and the West Country is well suited to exploiting the valuable potential of wave/tidal energy, small scale PV and hydro power, thermal energy, biomass and others.

Like the rest of us we understand the need “to keep the lights on” and that we have to pay a price to do so. Wind energy can never be relied on to match this ultimate requirement. This hopeless pursuit of targets that we can never reach, at costs that we cannot afford, with consequences for people and the landscape that we treasure, makes less and less sense. We welcome the hint of a U-turn by the Government and support a moratorium on any further approvals for industrial scale turbines in these two counties.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Hogg and Michael Bruton

Chairs of CPRE Devon & Cornwall

www.cpredevon.org.uk www.cprecornwall.org.uk


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