‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Wind farms and protecting the beauty of the countryside

A beautiful setting spoiled by technology
OK. I admit it. I hate wind farms. Not that there is anything wrong with them in the right place, but they tend to get build in some of the country's most beautiful wilderness areas. And they are not small, some 140 metres tall covering whole hillsides of precious Moorland.

Perhaps winds farms may enhance an urban environment, but they do nothing for the natural environment. But why does it matter you may ask if we industrialise the countryside? It matters for reasons of beauty. Human beings have the need for beauty. I believe many urban social problems are caused in part by the ugly nature of the urban landscape. The countryside then is a place where people can go to to escape the ugliness of urban space, and it is worth preserving without human interference.

Aldo Leopold commented on a 'land ethic' in the Sand County Almanac that "A thing is right if it tends to preserve the stability, integrity, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong if it tends otherwise."

Protecting the beauty of God's creation is important as a place for all people to enjoy, so that people in turn then value the countryside as a positive feedback.

But what is the Government promising? Only a 30 fold increase in onshore and offshore wind farms.

Vidal, J. Revealed: UK's blueprint for a green revolution, Guardian online June 21st 2008,

Blueprint for an industrial revolution

See also the Sunday Telegraph - Christopher Booker 22nd June 08

Wind power comes to my back yard

Windy Miller

As for the efficiency of wind farms I am reminded of Windy Miller of Camberwick Green fame whistling for the wind. That about sums up the contribution wind farms will make to the cutting of greenhouse gases. Government ministers might as well be whistling in the wind along with Windy Miller. Why? Because the wind doesn't always blow, or sometimes it blows too hard, and there needs to be coal fired power stations burning in the back ground as back up. Wind power only works at something like 30 % of maximum output over a year. If it weren’t for the subsidies they would not be built. So the beauty of the countryside is ruined for an industry built on subsidy.

I am not suggesting that cutting greenhouse gases is not important, but this big business solution is not the answer. Why not give those subsidies to ordinary householders to place solar panels on their roofs and generate their own electricity as a localised solution?
Andrew Sibley

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