Wind turbines have often been in the news in recent years. Some people love them, some hate them. Here are some reasons given by both sides.
- They symbolise a responsible use of the countryside
- They generate clean energy
- They spoil the natural landscape
- They kill birds and are a danger to the local ecosystems
- The building of roads necessary to service them spoils local views.
- They make a horrible low pitched noise that is impossible to live near.
Here are some ideas and questions to get you thinking about these points of view.
What is “natural” about the countryside? Until the end of the middle-ages, the British countryside was covered in forests. It was people who cut these down, created fields and what we now call “countryside”. What we see today only exists because farmers plough, plant and harvest.
The landscape has been altered fundamentally to suit human needs. Do a small number of people have the right to prevent further change as our needs change?
In the 18th Century the UK was covered in many thousands of windmills, which ground the nations flour. They were a central part of every community.
If it was ok to cover the landscape with windmills once before, why do some people find it unacceptable today? What does it say about their view of what the countryside is for?
Any large man made structure will kill birds. Office blocks with mirrored windows are notorious for birds dying as a result of flying straight into them. If a wind turbine is placed somewhere such that rare birds are injured, why not put it somewhere else away from the birds?
In 2011, Dutch researchers completed a study to look at the actual effects of wind turbines as opposed to the claims made by those for and against. The results indicated that actually, offshore wind farms act as a wildlife haven and increase biodversity!
Is poor choice of location a reason to dismiss the technology?