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‘Wind Farms Ruin the Countryside,’ Charge Some Activists

by Gopalan on  July 25, 2009 at 3:00 PM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
 ‘Wind Farms Ruin the Countryside,’ Charge Some Activists
Wind farms might be seen as the answer to the growing energy crisis, but some in the West do not seem to be convinced. It ruins the countryside, they charge.

In the US the Wind Energy Opposition and Action Groups seeks to co-ordinate the anti-wind farm agitations.
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A petition prepared by them says:

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Large wind energy turbines:

Generate a wide range of noises and vibration, day and night, that cause loss of sleep, headaches, tinnitus, irritability, dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms in people who live near them.

Raise noise levels to a degree that is incompatible with the rural or wild environment in which they are typically sited.

Create intrusive shadow flicker over a long distance when the sun is behind the turning blades.

May shed and throw large pieces of ice over a great distance.

Are subject to stresses that often cause catastrophic blade failure, collapse, and fire.

Large wind turbines therefore need adequate setbacks to protect the health and safety of nearby residents. A minimum distance of 2 kilometers (or 1-1/4 miles) between homes and the turbines is recommended by a number of noise and health experts.

In certain terrains, such as rolling hills, in quiet rural areas, and under some climatic conditions, greater distances of 3-5 km (~2-3 mi) are required to protect the health and welfare of neighbors. Any specified setback, however, must be part of a robust set of regulations to also limit noise and protect the environment and landscape.

In the UK, Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, wants to build thousands more onshore wind turbines as part of plans to boost the amount of energy generated from renewable resources.

But Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said there was a risk that wind turbines will become a symbol of a token effort to tackle climate change while neglecting to make more difficult choices.

"There is a concern that [wind farms] become a redundant symbol of our desire to do something but we are not actually doing it - then it is a nightmare vision of the future," he said.

Mr Spiers was speaking Friday at this year's Daily Telegraph Debate at the CLA Game Fair, where around half the audience were faced with a wind farm development in their area.

Trish Pemberton, of the National Association of Wind Action Groups, UK said the "human right" to enjoyment of the countryside was at risk.

"What is going to happen is we will end up with these monstrosities in the landscape when other renewables have been developed and they will not take them down," she said.

However, Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of the British Wind Energy Association, insisted that wind farms will play a key role in meeting climate change targets without ruining the countryside.

"The most emotive issue around wind farms is the visual impact," she said. "The trouble is it is not the only consideration or the most important consideration. It has to be balanced out."

Source: Medindia
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