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Guardians of Mendip Hills join row over wind turbines

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 31, 2012

The fight against wind turbines is stepping up

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One of the Mendip Hills’ staunchest supporters has entered the fray over wind turbines and casting aside the “fallacy” of climate change in the process.

The Mendip Society, a charity of 700 members, is joining forces with the newly formed Action Against Turbines on Mendip (AATOM) to fight schemes, including two 300ft turbines at Victoria Farm.

Mendip has been declared a National Character Area, extending from the edge of Weston-super-Mare in the west, to the edge of Frome in the east. More than half is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the area includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest as well as National Nature Reserves, registered parks and gardens, 238 scheduled monuments and 1,204 listed buildings.

Graham Price, the society’s chairman, said: “What then is the worth of all this if we are now to blight the landscape with wind turbines?

“Wind turbines impact on the value of properties and their desirability to prospective purchasers. They affect the health and well-being of people, creating physical and mental health issues resulting from invasive noise, shadow flicker and the recently identified ‘wind turbine syndrome’.

“They impact on wildlife, its habitat and ecology, and create a real major danger for birds and bats which are a nationally endangered and protected species.

“If the impacts on people and the environment are not enough, it has to be considered that wind turbines are neither viable or economic. There is considerable evidence showing they are inefficient and do not work. Currently, for on-shore turbines alone, £400 million per year is given to companies to subsidise manufacturing and to landowners in rent for having them on their land. Without these huge subsidies it is questionable if we would see another turbine.”

Two companies, ClearWinds and TUK, are each considering building a 300ft turbine on Mendip. The Clearwinds turbine, would be at Victoria Farm, near the Slab House Inn. The TUK one would be at Little Maesbury Quarry. Both are at the pre-planning stage.

William Clare of ClearWinds said on Wednesday that subsidies are part of a national policy to reduce carbon emissions and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, but that, like subsidies for other new industries, they are likely to reduce in time.

His own turbine scheme is for a local co-operative in which people could buy shares from £20 to £20,000. The mast would have a capacity to power up to 1,286 homes, saving 2,599 tones of CO2 per year.

A spokesman for AATOM said “We are not against renewable energy, but, in this case, the visual impact of vast turbines on part of a famous range of hills around one mile from an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty far outweighs any so-called benefits.”

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  • drawde29  |  August 31 2012, 4:53PM

    @siarad2 A combination of a biased media and uncertainty in the scientific community. If you are interested, this article summarises the issue much better than I could in this small comments box: http://tinyurl.com/cf8nrf This draws to light that climate change issues are not always just about carbon dioxide and greenhouse emissions - but they are the dominant factors at the moment. I think it's important to remember that "climate change" can be, and often is, a natural process caused by variations in solar activity and variations in the earth's orbit. It is only variations from these natural cycles caused by mankind's activities that is a cause for concern. Just as the "greenhouse effect" is not a bad thing, it is a natural process and essential for life on this planet - It is only the man-made strengthening of the greenhouse effect that is the problem.

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  • siarad2  |  August 31 2012, 3:26PM

    @drawde29 Pray tell why were we heading for an ice age in the 1960s, was there a massive short term reduction in CO2

  • drawde29  |  August 31 2012, 9:56AM

    I would like to congratulate the Mendip Society and Mr Price for spinning an incredible bit of rhetoric: Suggesting that climate change is a fallacy and wind turbines do not work, being unable to use the word "benefits" without prefixing with "so-called", etc, etc. The whole article is riddled with meaningless hyperbole. As for this "considerable evidence", this is certainly news to me as somebody well informed on current climate change and sustainability academia. They may well have an good point to make, however I haven't seen it yet. They need to present a well-informed, well-reasoned case based on empirical data obtained under reasonable scientific conditions, because that is certainly what their opponents are doing. At the moment they're embarrassing themselves with this laughable farce of a protest, and coming across as nothing more than spoiled NIMBYs.

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