Letter : Reaping the wind - at last

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Sir :The announcement that Britain will soon have its first offshore wind farm (report, 15 August) is wonderful news and about time too. We have an excellent wind resource off our coast, estimated by the Government in 1992 to be greater than total UK electricity demand. In addition, we have some of the best rough-sea engineering and operating skills in the world, so there is huge potential for jobs and the development of a competitive export industry.

Yet the Government has consistently failed to fund research into offshore wind power. In 1994, the renewable energy research budget was cut by 20 per cent and is declining year after year. The Department of Trade and Industry is keeping only a "watching brief" over offshore wind and other technologies like wave power which, given our extensive coastline, could make a major contribution to providing clean energy for the people of this country, with few of the local environmental impacts experienced by some onshore wind farms.

It's about time we followed the example of countries like Denmark that are willing to give more than just token support to these exciting new technologies and are consequently reaping the benefits of developing a sustainable, popular and world-leading industry.

ANNA STANFORD

Renewable Energy Campaigner

Friends of the Earth

London N1

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