Sunday, 20 December 2009


At some point in the next few months, Wychavon District Council will be receiving a formal planning application from ScottishPower Renewables for a five-turbine windfarm near Lenchwick in Worcestershire.

As it stands, the prospect is looking extremely good for supporters of the Lenchwick Windfarm.

For a start, there is nothing in the planning guidelines which currently constitutes a reason to turn down the application.

Wychavon DC has signed up to the Nottingham declaration, so it will be looking to fulfil its environmental commitments.

More to the point, the council knows that it will need GENUINE grounds to oppose the planning application if it is to avoid a terrifically expensive appeal.

If the Wychavon councillors were to turn down SPR's planning application on spurious or dodgy grounds (such as those advanced by VVASP), then it would most likely face an appeal from ScottishPower Renewables. This would cost tens of thousands of pounds of tax-payers' money.

On the other hand, if the council members approve the planning application - and there isn't really a valid reason not to - then the nimbies can appeal. BUT that would require a judicial review, which it is in the gift of the Home Secretary to approve.

Now, let's get real for a moment. Is the Home Secretary likely to approve a judicial review, just to please a bunch of barking nimbies who find it extremely difficult to be honest? Is the British Government likely to allow unnecessary delays to a necessary development?


So, here's the summary. The planning guidelines offer no prima facie reason to turn down the windfarm application. If Wychavon councillors do, they will be putting a huge amount of tax-payers' money at risk for no good reason.

If they approve the application, and the nasty nimbies of VVASP insist on challenging it, the Home Secretary will have to decide whether to allow a judicial review. Which is very, very unlikely.

The chances are, then, that SPR's planning application will be approved. The wind turbines will go up. And all the lies told about them by self-interested nimbies will turn out to be ... well, lies.

Game, set and match to common sense and the needs of the planet.

Meanwhile, in another blow to the nimby nonsense-mongers, a new study has concluded that windfarms do not create adverse health effects.

Published jointly by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations, and based on the findings of a panel of seven experts from the U.S., Canada, Denmark and the U.K. - experts in the fields of medicine, audiology, acoustics and environmental and public health - the report's executive summary indicates that:-

* There is no evidence that the audible and sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects

* The ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans

* The sounds emitted by wind turbines are not unique. There is no reason to believe, based on the levels of and frequencies of the sounds and the panel's experience with sound exposures in occupational settings, that the sounds from wind turbines could plausibly have direct adverse health consequences.

It remains to be seen whether VVASP will take heed of the science for once.

Oh - and yet another study has concluded that windfarms have no measurable effect on house prices.

Merry Christmas, one and all!!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Anyone who saw 'The Age of Stupid' on BBC4 last night might have had a rather spooky experience.

Yes, it's a remarkable film. Shocking, deeply worrying and only a determined climate change denier could fail to have been impressed by it. If you haven't seen it, please do. Climate change isn't a maybe. It's happening. And the consequences for us all, if we don't get a grip, could be truly terrible - and soon!

But one thing that really hit home was how ALL NIMBY GROUPS ARE THE SAME!!!

If you saw it, you'll have seen a group of middle class yahoos objecting to a windfarm in Bedfordshire. They told lies about it. They said some really stupid things about it. They even flew a blimp!! So maybe 'The Age of Stupid' is required viewing for VVASP. It does seem to be where they got some of their dafter ideas from.

But that side of the film was really depressing. The liars - just like our own homeground bunch - kept repeating the nimby mantra:

"We're all in favour of renewables - but only appropriate ones!"

The leading figure, a rather terrifying female, was questioned after the council met to consider the application. Oh, yes, we're all trying to do our bit for climate change, she simpered. I mean, everybody's got to, haven't they?


The film also showed how nasty such nimbies can be - but then, we already know that, don't we? Because once the VVASP ringleaders had spread enough ridiculous lies about the place, a number of locals really did go off the deep end, creating an atmosphere of fear and bullying.

VVASP likes to pretend that it's 'Pro-Renewables' (yep, just like in the film). But it's so 'Pro-Renewables' that it's now urging its members to oppose somebody else's windfarm. It's not just their own local area they seem to think is 'inappropriate' for a windfarm (a bizarre notion), they're also campaigning against a windfarm somewhere else. Presumably, this is on the 'you-scratch-my-back, I'll-scratch-yours' principle.

So, please, please, please, follow the link below and register your support for the Strensham windfarm planning application.

We cannot let a few liars and bullies dictate our energy policy.

We cannot let short-term self-interest determine long-term results.

We cannot afford to prevent windfarms. The government has plans for another 10,000 turbines nationally by 2020. By then, the UK will need to have cut carbon emissions by 43% - which will only be possible if the disgusting nimby groups which spring up everywhere a windfarm is proposed are ignored and overcome.

In the long term, VVASP won't win - simply because absolutely no one will win, unless sensible, progressive policies are adopted and windfarms get the go ahead.

Please follow the link below and say YES to Strensham:;jsessionid=C91FDD5A4B142E193502ACBA5081FDF3?appNumber=09%2F01189%2FFUL+&action=Search

Remember: it's not just the nutters who have an opinion. Those who care do, too.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


According to Nigel Lawson, one time Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher and now a leading climate change sceptic, there has been no global warming at all so far this century.

According to the Met Office and the World Meteorological Organisation, the first decade of the 21st century has been the hottest on record.

So - who's telling the truth? Those organisations with 160 years of detailed records at their fingertips? Or the father of a TV cook?

Going back just a few years, climate change was pretty well the preserve of scientists. More recently, as climatologists have grown more and more worried about the effects of carbon emissions and the other stupid things humanity has been doing to its home, the issue has moved into the political sphere.

Which means that there are people who just don't want to believe the evidence, whose cosy (if rather simplistic) economic theories have no place for man-made climate change and the kind of response needed from governments and individuals around the world, and who would rather pretend that everything is just hunky-dory (as long as they're still making money).

And then there are those who are still using their eyes and ears - not to mention their brains.

It's uncomfortably similar to the windfarm debate. You can accept the science, or you can make grand, sweeping, unsubstantiated statements.

To put it another way, you can acknowledge that modern windfarms are graceful, quiet and efficient. Or you can make up and spread a lot of lies about them. You can take the sensible route, or you can take the VVASP route.

Whether it's man-made climate change in general or the proposed Lenchwick Windfarm in particular, there is a wholly specious debate going on, as those with a vested interest in opposing vital, necessary steps spout endless rubbish while others recognise that we share responsibility for the future of our nation and the planet.

What cannot be denied is that there is a global scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that it is fuelled by reckless human behaviour, and that if urgent measures are not taken very soon the outcome could be catastrophic. And there is also a small but noisy lobby, largely funded by fossil fuel interests, which is trying to claim that none of this is happening.

The Conservative Party is all at sea over this. As Peter Luff MP has amply demonstrated, their worship of self-interest prevents them from grappling with the communal nature of the problems we face and the solutions we need to adopt. It should come as no surprise that a former Tory Chancellor is now pushing the theory that there has been no warming at all in the past decade, while the experts produce evidence to the contrary.

Now, freedom of speech is precious. But when certain people and parties abuse such freedom in order to spread lies (about the climate, about windfarms) then they are risking our futures and deliberately setting out to confuse the electorate.

When you consider what's at stake - rising global temperatures, changing weather patterns, hundreds of thousands already dying because of climate change and the potential devastation to come - you really have to wonder why some people are trying so desperately to deny it all.

Maybe The Times's Eureka magazine (Issue 3: December 2009) put its finger on the problem. Apparently, a lot of it has to do with herd instinct.

If your neighbours are doing nothing to help the situation, then you'll be less inclined to do your bit.

Or, as we've seen in the Lenchwick area recently, if a few noisy, self-obsessed individuals are prepared to tell loud lies about windfarms, their neighbours are quite likely to join in.

So it behoves us all to take a more intelligent, more reasonable and - if necessary - more individual stand against the deniers and against the nimbies. All it takes is for people to wake up, examine the evidence for themselves, and refuse to be dragged down by their more arrogant and aggressive neighbours.

Then, at long last, common sense can return to the Lenchwick area - when the confusion caused by nimby lies is finally dispelled. Roll on that beautiful day.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Given the heated nature of the windfarm debate - the hysterical, bizarre and unsubstantiated claims, the intimidatory tactics, the lies, rumours and those ghastly eyesore placards* - one thing is for sure. What we could do with around here is some calming influence.

Well, here's the good news. It comes from Ardrossan in Argyll, a notably tranquil and picturesque part of the country.

Twelve wind turbines started work there in 2004. Initially, when the plans were proposed, there were some local concerns. After a year of the windfarm's operation, however, a local councillor wrote:

"The Ardrossan wind farm has been overwhelmingly accepted by local people - instead of spoiling the landscape, we believe that it has been enhanced. The turbines are impressive looking, bringing a calming effect to the town and, contrary to the belief that they would be noisy, we have found them to be silent workhorses." (

A calming effect ... silent workhorses ... a landscape enhanced ... overwhelming acceptance ... and this from someone who knows, from experience, what it's like to have a 12-turbine windfarm nearby.

So why, we might wonder, if Vale Villains Against Scottish Power are so keen to provide information to the community about these things, have the comments of the Ardrossan councillor not been publicised by the anti-renewables fanatics? Surely they count as information, and a relevant addition to the debate?

And, while we're on the subject, how many members of the VVASP committee haven't yet managed to visit a windfarm (let alone the wider membership)? Campaigning against something you know nothing about and have made no effort to understand is a bit dumb, isn't it?

We could all learn a great deal from the people of Ardrossan. Like - let's get on with our lives, and we may well be pleasantly surprised at how the Lenchwick Windfarm enhances the beauty of the natural landscape while silently creating clean energy for people's homes.

* NB: this accounts for the behaviour of the protesters. On the other side of the debate, there has been some genuine fact-finding and a fair bit of tutting at the idiocy of the nimbies.