Hills are alive... with the sound of turbines

A PROPOSAL to install wind turbines is the kind of thing that causes, quite frankly, a bit of a row. Nothing draws the NIMBYs out of the woodwork like plans to put hulking great 80m high structures on the horizon, particularly given that, by their very na

A PROPOSAL to install wind turbines is the kind of thing that causes, quite frankly, a bit of a row.

Nothing draws the NIMBYs out of the woodwork like plans to put hulking great 80m high structures on the horizon, particularly given that, by their very nature, the turbines need to be placed in exposed locations which often turn out to be beautiful corners of our countryside.

So I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to the people in and around Weston for the support they appear to be giving to plans to erect three turbines on Weston Hills.

At a public meeting this week the collective feeling seemed to be one of approval, with only a few points made about the noise and visual impact.


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It would have been easy for them to object strongly as it's very hard to argue that our green and pleasant land is improved by the addition of huge turbines.

But I'm relieved to discover that people in Weston are far-sighted enough to realise that trying to preserve picture postcard views is not a luxury we have any more.

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The fact is that we are facing an energy crisis and need to find an alternative to fossil fuels.

We also need to stop pumping greenhouse gasses into the air.

Farmers John and Paul Cherry say the three turbines would generate six MW of electricity a year - enough to supply around 3,300 homes - and reduce carbon emissions by around 15,300 tonnes a year.

We already put up with a fair bit of architecture in our area which isn't exactly easy on the eye - Churchgate in Hitchin, the redundant power station in Letchworth GC and most of Stevenage town centre all spring to mind.

Admittedly these building are in our towns but the fact is they blight our landscapes yet do nothing to help the global energy problem.

I think what the people at the meeting realise is that even if you think wind turbines are about as attractive as the Manulife building in Stevenage, it's worth putting up with them to help produce some much-needed green energy.

There is, I will admit, some debate as to whether wind turbines are the whole answer to our energy problems as, when the wind is low, conventional power stations are needed to back up the energy supply.

But the fact remains the rest of the time they produce energy which otherwise would have to come from fossil fuels, or - God forbid - a nuclear power plant.

We have to get real, admit the problems we face (even if Mr George Bush struggles to do so) and think of solutions.

It's time to let wind turbines into our hearts - and our fields.

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