Letter: The choice is wind power or selfishness

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The Independent Online
Sir: Duff Hart-Davis (article, 28 December) purports environmental interests. Yet he fails to appreciate the seriousness of environmental damage from fossil fuels and the way clean technology, such as wind power, has profound environmental benefits. His condemnation of the wind turbine at Nympsfield near Stroud is typical of the closed minds and selfish interests of deck-chair environmentalists.

Closed minds, because action is required to abate damaging chemical emissions from fossil fuel power stations and transport. Hart-Davis must state how he wants electricity to be produced for his own electric kettle. Is he willing to be jointly responsible for excessive carbon dioxide triggering ecological damage from changing weather and rising sea water? Is he happy that his kettle is responsible for acid rain damage to forests and rivers? Does he want expensive and risk-ridden nuclear-generated electricity?

Selfish interests, because he wishes his own view of visual scenery to dominate over all other considerations. He can be assured that no species of animal or plant shares his concern; visual impact is a solely human criterion. Healthy ecology, clean air and water, and maintenance of soil, are the major concerns. A quiet wind turbine, as at Nympsfield, is ecologically benign; sterilising only the 25 square metres of its base, it has no additional adverse effect on animals or plants (bird strikes are minimal; less than from a road vehicle). One such turbine will produce essential electricity for the local grid equal to the amount used annually by about 500 houses now, and about 1,000 future houses with energy efficiency.

Moreover, there are many people who see wind turbines as beautiful dynamic structures; examples of modern technology for sustainable development. I wish I could see one from my house.

Professor JOHN TWIDELL

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development

De Montfort University

Leicester

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