An End To Wind Turbines In Our Communities
The good news came on Wednesday in the form of some very forthright words from John Hayes, the Coalition’s new minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. “We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can’t single-handedly build a New Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land,” he stirringly declared, adding: “I’m saying enough is enough.”
Rumor has it that the minister – a robust, old-school, churchgoing Tory – had intended to go even further. At a conference in Glasgow staged by Renewable UK on Tuesday evening, Hayes had apparently intended to declare a moratorium on all future onshore wind farm projects – on the grounds that Britain has already met its wind energy targets. Unfortunately, his fervently green departmental boss, Lib Dem Ed Davey, got to see the speech beforehand and vetoed it. Yesterday, a clearly furious Davey slapped him down again by declaring that there had been absolutely no change in Coalition policy on wind.
In theory this ought to be a crushing blow for Hayes and his many sympathisers within the Conservative Party, among them the Chancellor George Osborne, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, and MP Chris Heaton-Harris, who has been co-ordinating the Tories’ anti-wind resistance. After all, as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, it’s surely Davey who has the final say on Britain’s energy policy.
But in reality, it’s the Coalition’s anti-wind faction who is now very much in the ascendant. Their secret weapons are two reports that Hayes has commissioned into the impact of wind power. One is a specialist study on the health effects of low frequency noise, to be produced by the Royal Institute of Acoustics; the other is a survey on the broader effects of wind on the rural economy, taking in such matters as the effects of turbines on property values and on the landscape. Both – provided they are conducted with rigor and integrity – are likely to strike a blow from which the wind industry can never recover.