Article by Geoffrey Cox in the Tavi Links

For those of you like myself who do not get the excellent Tavi Links Magazine

here is a reprint of the article written by Geoffrey Cox:-

MP Calls for Halt to Wind Turbine Construction

Many local people have come to see me recently who are troubled by the increasing numbers of applications and proposals to erect wind turbines in our beautiful area. These modern machines can be as many as 400 feet tall. Once constructed, they dominate the landscape and, placed particularly close to individual houses can come to feel oppressive to those having to live with them towering above their homes.

Then there is the vexed question of noise. There is no doubt that a wind turbine does make a characteristic swishing sound as the blades rotate. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been expended by the Wind Turbine industry in an attempt to prove that the noise due to its turbines is of no significance to human beings. But stubbornly, reports of noise annoyance, disruption and even of ill health persist. This is almost certainly because such noises are perceived differently by those who hear them. Some are driven mad by the gentle sound of a dripping tap. Others sleep through it, oblivious.

But for many, it is the subsidized cost of the turbines, that condemns them. A 3 Megawatt (MW) unit costs roughly £3-4 million to build, will produce about 9,200 MW hours per year, with an annual value of £0.33 million. But it also gains an annual £0.442 million in compulsory subsidy from the consumer – paid for by substantially higher electricity prices. With the UK government providing a 20-year guaranteed subsidy, over its 25-year life the turbine thus attracts £20 million of revenue. This provides an explanation for the Klondike style “gold-rush” of many would-be turbine developers.

To others, the source of objection is the insignificant contribution these machines could ever make to the national power requirements of the country, the need for conventional fossil fuel “back up” to replace it when the wind is not blowing and the transformation of the character of our landscape that their proliferation will cause, the unspoiled beauty of which is one of our greatest assets here in West Devon upon which the livelihoods of so many local people depend.

Without any reliable evidence of their impact on local tourism or on the values of the homes of those affected, the construction of thousands of these giant machines in our countryside (dozens here in West Devon are proposed), seems a reckless gamble which has united bodies such as the National Trust, English Heritage, and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England in opposition.

Just a few weeks ago, together with 100 other Conservative MPs, I made an appeal to the Prime Minister to halt the previous Labour government’s policy of expanding the use of onshore wind turbines recently endorsed by the former Secretary of State, Chris Huhne. We intend to continue that fight at Westminster over the coming months.

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