Letter: Farming the wind: noise, aesthetics and ecology

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The Independent Online
Sir: In last week's Country Matters ('Moans from a mass crucifixion', 14 August), Duff Hart-Davis provided an indictment of our attempts to help the UK on to a sustainable path for the future. Dulas Engineering is a small independent company dedicated to the development of renewable energy worldwide; including solar, small hydro, bio-gas and wind power. We are not, as stated by Mr Hart-Davis, a scouting party for National Wind Power. We work extensively with developing countries, recently in the provision of solar-powered hospital equipment (Eritrea) and development of cooking alternatives to help prevent deforestation (Nepal). Our ethics lie solely in trying to lighten our impact on the environment and thus enhance people's lives.

We did not identify the site at Marcheini; we acted only as consultants on the planning application and environmental statement. On this information, the Welsh Office called the scheme to public inquiry.

We are keen to see energy conservation, but there will always be the need for power generation. Everybody wants to be assured that they can boil their kettle or watch television. Power to do this could come from coal-fired power stations in the Trent Basin, nuclear power stations on the coast of Somerset, or wind farms in the Welsh hills. Each has its own environmental impact.

Visual intrusion is a subjective matter and we consider it a small price to pay for preventing the emission of gases that contribute to both global warming and acid rain. The latter, in fact, degrades many habitats in the Welsh uplands. The 37,000 people who visited Delabole wind farm in Cornwall over a period of just nine months were obviously keen to see the wind farm in action.

Mr Hart-Davis writes that:

even if 40,000 masts went up all over Britain, their output would be so small and unreliable that not a single conventional power station would close.

In fact, 40,000 turbines would provide an average generating capacity of 6,000 megawatts - the same total output as that of all our nuclear power installations, and almost double that of Europe's largest coal-fired plant.

One wonders how Mr Hart-Davis wishes to see a sustainable energy policy implemented, and what sort of a future he envisages for his children.

Yours faithfully,


Environmental Projects Manager

Dulas Engineering

Machynlleth, Powys

19 August