A Rant: I’m pro-green but anti-windfarm

The Scafells, Lake District National Park
The Scafells at dawn from Bowfell, Lake District. Alas, I’m not back here until February now.

Currently sat at home, pretty much doing bugger all. The weather has been less than ideal of late for me to head out and get some work done. Alas, conditions look set to improve over the coming days but it means once I head out, I won’t be returning home for quite some time.

I’ve had to re-jig my schedule somewhat and will be setting off for the Cairngorms next week to begin filming for ‘The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend’ – hopefully some more snow will drop by and broken cloud and sunshine too.

I’m taking a minimum of 7 nights food with me, and will likely have to visit somewhere like Aviemore to collect more supplies afterwards. Yes, it’s going to be a long trip. Or at least I’m planning on it being so anyway. If the trip is productive over the initial 7 days, then I’ll head home for some rest and recuperation. If not, I’ll stick around. Time is of the essence for this project.

Before I head on out, please take the time to look at the following link and video. The principles of which concerns all of us who enjoy and feel passionately about the great outdoors here in the UK.

I’m very much a ‘pro-green’ type of person. I recycle as much as I can at home, I use public transport at all times. I don’t drive! And generally, despite all that I’m anti-windfarm.

Not because I’m a “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) but because I believe there are better alternatives in the UK for green energy.

Or at the very least, alternatives much more deserving of investment and dare I say it? Subsidies.

Wind farms in some areas, I don’t mind too much if I’m honest. On the edge of urban conurbations, for example. Or out at sea, such as those seen from North Wales. After all, wind turbines can be an eye sore within a given context or scene. Just off the horizon in the open sea or part of an industrial and urban area, they seem less intrusive and to my eyes form part of the fabric of such areas, particularly the latter.

There’s plenty of research to be found out there on the merits of wind technology – do take the time to look. Espeically concerning  how “green” they really are and the financial costs involved too. You’ll be surprised.

But what irks me – actually, that’s a lie – what makes my blood boil, is this sense of ignorance, greed and rampage that appears to be enveloping the UK with regards to wind farms! There’s no real debate about it. You’d be a fool to think otherwise, but wind farms (note the last word) do destroy the aesthetic appeal to much of our wonderful landscapes.

Yes, the irony is much of the countryside we’ve come to admire is shaped by the hands of man over millennia. Fact. But it’s worth bearing in mind, our ancestors lived from the land, lived on the land and used the land as a means to survive. Sadly, much of our forests were destroyed as one example. But what we have left we can protect. Lesson learnt. Benefit of hindsight and moreover modern thinking and technology!

What we have now we can protect for future generations, never mind for ourselves (if you wish to be selfish about it).

So people like you and me really need to stand up and be counted with regards to wind farms or any intrusions on our special landscapes. Particularly those planned that will be a ghastly stain in places like Scotland, Northern England and Mid-Wales.

Also, it’s worth considering that such protests are NOT about whether you accept “man-made climate change” or not.

Climate change is happening. There’s no doubt about it. Always has done anyway! Whether what we are experiencing now is man-made or heavily influenced by ourselves is the real debate. And I’ll leave that for you to decide. But do try to take a balanced point of view on the matter. Obviously some don’t. Be it pro or against.

What’s important to remember, is planet earth is much like farmland you see on the outskirts of your town, city or village. There’s only so much yield a farmer can produce in terms of crops. And the yield of our home floating through space has only so much resources available now (and in the future) for the human race to survive. Be it at a minimum standard or worst. Where I use a farmer’s land as an analogy for the earth and it’s inhabitants, I have another for the human race. We’re like locusts! Freshwater is becoming scarce and it’s scary to learn the percentages involved go towards industry. Land for crops is reaching it’s yield and some argue it already has and we’re now at a tipping point.

Minerals for industry, or even technology is scarce. Fossil fuels and so much more – they are not infinite.

So considering the latter, doesn’t it then make sense to live within our means? Does it not then make sense to be “green”? I think so. And that’s without taking into account climate change and whether that’s a result of ourselves and past generations or not!

Green is the way to go. We’ll either gradually adjust our ways over the coming decades, or something catastrophic will happen and give us the kick up the arse we need culturally.

Heck, we could take a leaf out of many of our ancestors books no? Living within our means, from the land and nature. Much like a medieval homestead perhaps? The principles at least is what I’m trying to get at.

And where does that rambling ramble lead us? It leads us back to wind farms. Are they the right technology to subsidise and encourage for the world we’re fast approaching? Are they value for money? Are they a blight on the landscape? Are they a con? Should the monies go elsewhere?

Hence, I don’t mind them. In a given area. But not out there in there hundreds desecrating what beautiful and treasured landscapes we have left!

I’d happily have a bloody wind turbine fixed onto the chimney of my house. I’d love solar panels too. And I’d love for me to have the ability to capture and recycle rainwater for various purposes. But I aint rich. Otherwise I would!

So, why can’t all the millions of pounds our governments spend on wind technology be invested in a variety of technologies for our homes? Our cars and so on? I suspect the costs, (if there’s a will) will be a lot less. And perhaps there’s no profit in it for private companies, such is this governments disdain for anything state managed or influenced.

Yet isn’t it ironic that what subsidy schemes there were available to enable one to invest such technologies at home, the current government upon coming to power have now cut or even closed? Go figure. That’s not a political dig by any means. Just a simple observation of this governments ideologies and the previous. Both can be right. Both plainly screwed it up for us all to either chase a principle or score bloody political points. And they never seem to think of the bigger picture.

Great Britain, the tiny group of islands fortunate enough to be situated on one of Europes largest coal seams, rich in minerals and a people who’s ideas and culture lead to the birth of industrialisation and changed the world forever.

The birth of industrialisation on a colossal scale that changed the way much of the world lives, with origins based in Derbyshire, powered by water (aint that fitting, eh? Hydro power! It’s green!).

So, why not now can Britain not believe, or drag itself up and contribute with the world as a team to a ‘green industrial revolution’? We’re often told that the UK has some of the best available green energy resources in the world.  Ironic eh?

Ironic too, that Scotland under Salmond wishes to lead the way on that front. But you can’t help but laugh at how he stampes ahead with his ambitions for the wonderful Scottish nation, he may well destroy the very fabric of which his country is renowned globally for? The very landscapes that inspired generations, which spawned great poets, scientists, myths and legends and rebellion.

As much as I admire the skills of Alex Salmond as a politician and respect his strength and passion for what he believes – I cannot help but feel there are aspects to his ambition and drive that he’s blinded by and could ultimately harm Scotland not only as a nation but it’s landscapes too.

Scotland has a long and proud history and has arguably lead the way in many respects through time. Some may say it’s always been the forward thinking part of the United Kingdom’s psyche culturally. And I’d be inclined to agree. But what Salmond is doing now I believe is ill-thought through. It’s heart breaking. And such a character will no doubt have political admirers south of the border too.

So, head on over to that link above. Put your name down on the petition and help protect what is arguable the UK’s finest, grandest landscape and to many the only wilderness they’ll ever come close to experiencing within these small and beautiful isles.

Let Alex Salmond know how strongly we all feel about the subject of wind turbine sites. Let the wider UK and it’s politicians know that we don’t have to be anti-green to dislike wind turbines. We can be pro-green too – but they’re going about it all in the totally wrong and mis-guided way.


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