Wind farms blighting the landscape

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Britain's big increase in wind turbines is proving a blight on the landscape, a report by a countryside organisation claims. Developers are exaggerating the output of the new "green" power stations which are being allowed to proliferate with little control, says the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

It calls for much tougher scrutiny by local councils before turbine schemes are granted planning permission, saying thatdespite claims by wind power companies, stations are producing only about 25 per cent of their potential. A huge number will be needed to make any real contribution towards reducing atmospheric pollution.

The CPRW lists 30 "wind farms" in Britain, consisting of 643 turbines.

The installed capacity of a typical machine has doubled from 300kW in 1992 to 600kW in 1996, with an increase in overall height from just over 130ft (40m) to 200ft and more (60m).

Almost half the total capacity is in Wales. In England, locations have either been coastal (Cornwall and Cumbria) or on rolling moorland, as in the Pennines. Applicants for new sites are now targeting the Scottish Highlands, says the CPRW.