STRAIGHT TALK: It’s time to end wind farm wars

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IT’S widely acknowledged that wind farms are the quickest and cheapest source of renewable energy to get up and running.

IT’S widely acknowledged that wind farms are the quickest and cheapest source of renewable energy to get up and running.

Last month this newspaper carried a report by East Midlands Councils stating that local wind farms offer Lincolnshire’s greatest potential for achieving low energy targets by the 2020 deadline.

Yet this week Freedom of Information figures came out showing that nationally, 32 applications out of a total 66 for onshore wind farms were turned down for planning permission last year, a dramatic reduction and the lowest number of successes since 2005.

At the same time local couple Jane and Julian Davis, who say the noise from wind turbines drove them out of their home, are in the High Court suing neighbouring landowners in Deeping St Nicholas and the operators of the wind farm next door.

While I can’t help sympathising with people in such obvious distress, I also can’t help thinking that the Davis’ dispute would have been settled years ago if it weren’t for the antis.

Without the shrilly vocal anti-wind farm lobby and its unaccountable prejudice against turbines, the case would probably never have come to court.

And our flat and largely featureless man-made fenland fields would certainly have more of these graceful landmarks turning lazily in the Fen blow, producing clean energy for the National Grid.

But because the ante has been so very upped against them, the owners and landlords of the Deeping St Nicholas turbines must fight this as a test-case which if it goes against them will be dragged up at every public inquiry throughout the country.

Everyone, climate change sceptics included, sees the need for the UK to quickly and drastically reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The UK is signed up to getting one third of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

And it’s just been announced that many gas, oil and coal-fired UK power stations are ageing and must be replaced within the next few decades.

Relying on depleting supplies of fossil fuels from abroad clearly makes us vulnerable to huge price increases, interruptions through political turmoil and ultimately the lights going out.

And while it’s been claimed recently that converting our economy to green energy will hike bills by 30 per cent, given that we’ve got to get away from fossil fuels anyway, what choice do we have?

Who imagines that new nuclear power stations and offshore wind turbines, which the antis don’t seem to object to so violently, will be cheap? And they’ll certainly take many more years to commission.

Even the most fervent wind farm enthusiast wouldn’t claim that onshore turbines could supply more than a small percentage of our needs.

Couldn’t the antis put their energy into promoting a viable alternative energy source instead?