Michael McCarthy: Ghastly, lethal to birds – but a necessary evil

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There aren't that many genuine hard cases in the environment, where both sides have right on their side, but the case of wind energy is one of them.

On the one hand, even if climate change has fallen off the political agenda because of the recession, the global warming problem has not remotely gone away, and we need low-carbon, renewable energy more than ever. Not only do we need it, we are legally obliged to provide it under EU law: we have signed up to achieving 15 per cent of our energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 (at present the figure is about 6.7 per cent).

Solar power, wave power, tidal power and nuclear power are all a long way off in terms of major deployment, and wind energy, with those massive turbines, is in effect the only game in town.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that those turbines are a major and unmissable intrusion on any cherished piece of countryside.

Some of the proposals put forward have been outrageous, such as the All Duine wind farm on the edge of the Cairngorms, rejected by Scottish councillors this year.

Fighting proposals such as these was not nimbyism – the spectacular landscapes they would have despoiled can inspire us all. The point is to try to make sure that turbines only go in the appropriate place.

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