Leading article: A wind of change

Share
Related Topics

Eaglesham Moor is staking its claim to posterity. In three years, this stretch of land south of Glasgow will be home to the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. With 140 turbines, the Whitelee project will be three times the size of the UK's present biggest wind farm, in Blacklaw, South Lanarkshire.

For a wind farm, Whitelee has been something of a rarity in that it has met relatively little public opposition. Eaglesham Community Council registered its objections. But the relevant planning authorities - South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and East Ayrshire - did not. No one is expecting future wind farms, which are virtually all proposed for much more contentious sites, to get such a smooth ride through the planning process.

Nor should they. It is right that such large-scale building projects should be subject to scrutiny. The environmental and aesthetic impact of wind farms should be considered. But as the first generation of turbines beds in, it is becoming apparent that some of the warnings about the danger they pose to bird life were too alarmist. Likewise, the predictions about their energy efficiency have been shown to be pessimistic. We finally seem to be waking up to the fact that Britain's position, on the windswept edge of the Atlantic, gives us a more reliable supply of wind than most of our European neighbours. A growing concern over the impact of climate change has also diminished the arguments of the knee-jerk nimbys somewhat. A public mood in favour of sensitively placed wind farms seems to be growing.

We must also focus on the great potential of this technology. By generating 322 megawatts a year, Whitelee will provide enough energy to power 200,000 homes. It will also reduce the UK's CO2 emissions by some 250,000 tonnes a year. Nor should we forget that Whitelee will create jobs. Wind farms will play a significant part in proving that "green" economic growth is possible.

Yet we might ask why the switch to renewable energy technologies - and here we are talking about not just wind, but wave, tidal and solar energy - is taking so long? The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, who launched the Whitelee project yesterday, also took the opportunity to announce a nationwide consultation on renewable energy. We are told the Government will "seek views" on how it can reach its target of generating 20 per cent of the UK's electricity from renewable sources by the end of the next decade. The fact that government policy still seems to be stuck in the consultation stage does not inspire confidence. Waiting on planning applications is one thing; waiting for ministers to inject the process with an appropriate sense of urgency is quite another.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job ? This is a new post...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing...

KS2 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Expenses: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randstad Educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The EU must take more responsibility for the migrants risking their lives to reach Italy

Benjamin Ward
The view from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh  

Scottish independence: Why I can't wait to leave London and live in a free, independent Scotland

Yannis Baboulias
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week