Letter: Farming the wind: noise, aesthetics and ecology

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The Independent Online
Sir: Duff Hart-Davis is mistaken in reporting that Tomen 'has applied for permission to erect 90 more turbines' at the Llandinam wind farm in Montgomeryshire. Neither Tomen nor EcoGen (which has worked in partnership with Tomen of Japan on renewable energy development in the UK) has submitted a planning application for the installation of additional wind turbines at Llandinam.

Contrary to Mr Hart-Davis's comments about the noise and aesthetics of wind turbines, a recent study undertaken on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry at Delabole, where a wind farm was built in 1991, concluded:

That wind turbines are a noise nuisance. From a position of anticipating or being not sure about noise blight in 1990, there was a dramatic change, with a large majority seeing wind turbines as not a noise nuisance in 1992 . . .

That a windmill farm would be a tourist attraction. Whereas in 1990 there was a violent disagreement on this, with half the respondents saying yes and the other half saying no and few being unsure, by 1992 there was a strong agreement that a windmill farm would be a tourist attraction.

In a country that has 1 per cent of the world's population but produces 3 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide, we would be foolish to ignore our plentiful renewable energy resource. For this reason, the Government has created a subsidy for a wide range of renewable technologies. The subsidy seems high until you consider the hidden environmental costs of other forms of electricity generation, from spreading lime in acidified lakes and cleaning up oil spills in the Shetlands to the interminable problem of nuclear waste disposal. On a more philosophical point, what is the current value of a finite fuel resource that you hope to consume for ever?

Yours sincerely, EMILY TOMALIN




19 August