In my back yard, please!

19 Aug

    I don’t know what kind of worldwide circulation it’s achieved but there’s an acronym in use in the U.K. used to descibe a person who has objection to the siting of…well…almost anything really near to property they own. NIMBY stands for “Not In My Back Yard”, not literally the rear of one’s property you understand, just uncomfortably close to.
    One of the installations that one sees run foul of the NIMBYs on a regular basis is Windfarms. In my part of the world (Eastern England) there are a few of these windfarms around. It seems to be a fairly regular occurence that local councillors are reported as objecting to the siting of proposed windfarms in their locales, the most recent example being County Councillors refusing to back plans for the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm off the North Norfolk coast on the grounds that it may impact the local fishing industry. While I have a certain amount of sympathy with the issue of the fishing industry (although not sufficient not to back these plans), it’s way past time that some people opened their eyes to “the bigger picture”.
    West Devon Borough Council turned down plans to build nine wind turbines in January of this year and admitted that

“the main reason for refusing the application was the impact of the turbines on the landscape.”

    which is the reason guaranteed to have me climbing up onto my virtual soapbox. Perhaps these people would prefer a nice picturesque nuclear power station? Ok, I know that a nuclear power station wouldn’t be sited there but there’d be objections to it whereever it was proposed.
    My point is that society today demands electricity. Surely its better to try and generate it by means that don’t further impact the environment as a whole even if it means putting these wind turbines in “areas of outstanding natural beauty”? If some climate change models are to believed (and they are, increasingly by people who know about these things) then the point of choosing whether to try to generate our power by renewable means, even if it does have an aesthetic impact on the environment or losing most of the land mass of Great Britain to rising sea levels has already been reached. Is it really that difficult a decision to make?
    And on the subject of “aesthetic impact”, I don’t find that these wind turbines are that objectionable. Tall and brilliant white, they have a strange otherworldly elegance which is far more pleasing to the eye than the endless ranks of steel pylons which for years have carried electricity across the countryside with hardly a murmur against them.
    Dependent on the approval of my landlord, I would like to offer here and now that if any electricity generator would like to site a wind turbine in our back yard then they’re more than welcome. An offer of a  roof installation, generating power exclusively for us would be met with a very favourable response and could be a PR coup for someone!

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