Speaking up for wind power – does it work?
In spite of the odds, wind power is going from strength to strength – which is why it has never been more important for local people to speak out and back projects if we want to do our bit to tackle climate change.
Wind turbine hysteria hit the headlines again recently. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the great British public vehemently hate wind power. Yet the reality is that the majority of people support renewable energy, including wind power – even when turbines are planned near their homes.
The good news is that in spite of the hysteria, 2015 started well for wind power in the UK. At the end of last year the design details for the Rampion offshore wind farm were released and, in January, a Sussex onshore wind farm was approved after an appeal by the developer.
There is no doubt in my mind that local residents voicing their support for wind applications is really important to ensure that the right size schemes, in the right places, actually get the green light. I helped set up a residents group “Yes to Polegate Wind Farm” for a project near Eastbourne. We did basic things like stalls in the town centre and letters to the local paper as well as encouraging submissions to the council to support the project through the official planning process. Every time the wind bashers popped up, we’d be there smiling and being positive.
So, for everyone who cares about fighting climate change in their own neighbourhood and the future of renewable power, this shows that making our voices heard against the minority anti-wind brigade does work!
And just this week the largest wind farm in Europe was approved off the coast of Yorkshire.
These approvals are happening despite a government that is increasingly listening to an influential vocal minority who have taken against wind power. Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government minister started intervening in wind project decisions in 2013 and has held up or refused a huge number of projects.
Why can’t the government see that wind power is a ‘win win’ issue? Harnessing our natural renewable resources such as the wind and sun is not only good for the environment, in terms of reducing climate changing emissions, but also makes sense for the economy. On the Isle of Wight, one of the most deprived parts of the South East region, Vestas is going to start manufacturing wind turbine blades again, and an Island company has recently won the £6m contract to build new work boats for the Sussex offshore project.
Wind power is one sector that can rapidly help us avoid climate change and needs to be supported, not hampered by our Government and the anti-wind brigade. It’s a sensible alternative to our dependence on fossil fuels and can play a huge role in delivering on our commitments under the climate change act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. There are many ways that we can all take action this year to let the Government know we want more done to help with solutions to climate change. The next chance is to take part in the Time to Act March next month.
I hope you’ll join me and the thousands of other members of the public who want to shout out for a low carbon future.
Original article written by Brenda Pollack, 19 February 2015