Saturday, 10 March 2012


About 60 million songbirds are killed each year in the UK by domestic pets. Many more are killed by planes, trains and automobiles, or by flying into buildings.

Not forgetting the many thousands of birds that are blasted out of the sky each year by shotgun-wielding idiots who then climb into their gas-guzzling, bird-crunching 4x4s and head off to the latest anti-windfarm meeting, where they scream and shout about wind turbines killing birds, bats and - wait for it - bees.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Nimby.

Most serious studies estimate that a wind turbine will kill, on average, one bird a year. That's pretty bad. It also means that, over the course of its 25-year optimum lifespan, a wind turbine will destroy about as many birds as the average house cat does in a couple of years.

So why aren't the nimbies campaigning against domestic pets, internal combustion engines, jet aircraft, buildings with windows, buildings without windows, and people who kill things for "sport", if they're so worried about wildlife?

And what have bees got to do with it? Sadly, some aw-nimby idiots are now trying to pretend that windfarms are the cause of declining bee populations - even though those populations are declining in areas where there are no windfarms. You couldn't make it up, could you? Well, unless you're a useless anti-wind nimby, in which case you'll happily make it up.

Another trait of aw-nimbydom is a steadfast refusal or inability to keep up with events. Yes, it is true that, in the early days of wind power development, two windfarms in the United States were rather poorly sited on migratory routes. Fortunately, the industry learned from those mistakes, and now extensive research and consultation must take place before any windfarm planning application is submitted, with wildlife being one of the things that is most carefully scrutinised in order to minimise the potential harm. That, dear friends, is called "progress" - a concept that very few nimbies are familiar with.

Now, researchers at Loughborough University have found another way of limiting the (tiny) amount of damage done to the creatures of the air by wind turbines. You'll love this, folks.

Apparently, painting the turbines - and, in particular, the blades - a nice shade of purple will deter insects and therefore protect the bats which hunt those insects.

Can you imagine the headline in the Torygraph - 'BRITAIN TO BE SWAMPED WITH PURPLE WIND TURBINES' (or the Daily Heil version: 'PURPLE WIND FARMS LINKED TO CANCER').

Actually, it's not as bad as all that. What the Loughborough researchers discovered is that painting the turbines a range of different colours, or simply altering the ultraviolet and infrared components in the paint colour, can make a big difference.

We're quite happy with the idea of having multi-coloured turbines. The nimbies will be opposed to them no matter what colour they are. But we here at Wind of Change think that turbines should come in any-colour-you-like. Maybe the team at Loughborough University can figure out which colour is best at deterring nimbies.

So - it's a relatively minor problem, really, given that windfarms account for an infinitesimal fraction of the wildlife killed in Britain each year. But at least there's a solution at hand. Paint the turbines purple. Simples.

Now we just have to paint our cats, our cars, our houses and our tower blocks purple, too. And ban anyone who shoots game from protesting against windfarms on the somewhat spurious grounds that "wind turbines kill birds".

Or maybe we should just institute a simple rule: you can worry about the "harm" a windfarm might do to wildlife, but only when you've got rid of your pets, disposed of your car, deactivated your shotgun and moved into a hole in the ground.

Sounds fair enough, doesn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment