Apparently, there's a little man in Norfolk. And he's feeling very pleased with himself. He made the front page of a national newspaper or two. Why? Because he managed to stop a windfarm.
The freakishly insane Daily Mail certainly trumpeted the triumph of this little man. "Villagers scored a major victory over the wind farm and green lobby yesterday", it smirked.
Rendered into accurate English, what the frothy-mouthed propagandists at the Mail meant was: "A few selfish loons drove another nail into the coffin of inexpensive, clean, renewable energy and Britain's future energy security, ensuring that everybody's electricity bills will be higher. But hey, they got to protect their precious views!"
The fact that a windfarm proposal has been defeated isn't really news, because the majority are overcome by the witless opposition of a few local liars and hypocrites. What made the Hemsby case different was that a High Court judge ruled that the scenery mattered more than renewable energy. Blissfully unconscious of the pun, the Mail described it as a "landmark" ruling, and quoted a local landscape gardener (that most essential of occupations) as saying "It is overdevelopment, you can't cover the hills and dales in turbines." An odd remark. The proposed windfarm was in the Norfolk Broads, where hills and dales are hard to find.
So, the only reason that "the little man" was celebrated in the Daily Mail's loopy article was because of this "landmark" ruling. Folks, you can forget all that gibberish about bats and birds, horses and house prices, phantom noise and flying ice! All you need to do to stop a windfarm is invent some hills and dales where there aren't any and set out to protect them at any cost!!
The landscape has become the battleground for renewables in Britain. With CPRE spouting nimby gibberish and the National Trust appealing to the courts over a decision to site a windfarm where it might mildly upset visitors to a country house (left unfinished more than four hundred years ago), and coming hard on the heels of Griff Rhys Jones's moronic outburst about how we must laminate our landscape so that it looks all nice and no one is ever allowed to do anything, the High Court ruling has established the rules from now on.
You want to mitigate the worst effects of climate change? You want to reduce pollution and carbon emissions? You want cheap, clean, green energy, so that your children and grandchildren can enjoy the benefits of electricity?
WELL YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!!!
Because a little man doesn't want his view spoilt - you know, that view of the hills and dales which aren't there.
It's different in other countries. In Australia, for example, the battleground is the entirely mythical and non-existent "Wind Turbine Syndrome". Even though a host of scientific studies have concluded that infrasound from wind turbines simply isn't capable of affecting human beings, the faux "Wind Turbine Syndrome" argument drags on. Indeed, wind industry experts in Oz are now pointing out that there is no "debate" over the existent or non-existence of "Wind Turbine Syndrome" (let's face it, we'd know by now if it really did exist, outside the fetid minds of a few anti-wind nimbies), but only a raging "argument" based on falsehoods and foolish stories in the press.
Part of the problem is that the press itself is dying. The days of the print media appear to be numbered, and in its death-throes it is going bonkers. What else could account for the sickening nonsense that right-wing rags like the Mail and Telegraph continually spew about "the wind farm and green lobby", making out that the very people who are trying to guarantee the UK and the rest of the world a clean, safe and secure energy future are some kind of weird fringe. It doesn't bother the idiot journalists who work for these papers that the vast majority of Britons - even in rural areas - want to see more wind power. They're writing for an increasingly tiny minority of little men.
New media have a very different outlook - which is why Sky TV's offices in London are now powered by their very own wind turbine.
But in the mad, mad world of the right-wing hack, windfarms are part of some socialist conspiracy. Hurrah for the little man! Down with the future!!
Well, sorry to rain on their parade, but as this article - written by actual experts, not the private school-educated monkeys of Fleet Street - shows, the cost of wind power is expected to drop 12% by 2016:
There will be a prize for anyone who can name another major form of electricity generation which is likely to go down in price over the next four years. Nuclear? Don't make us laugh. Gas? Coal? It's only the massive subsidies paid to fossil fuels that are keeping the prices as high as they already are. Even without direct government subsidies, windfarms are already cost-competitive with those heavily subsidised conventional sources, which themselves are only getting more expensive.
So, thanks to the little man of Norfolk, you can now rest assured that the famous hills and dales of the Norfolk Broads will be spared a windfarm - and you'll be paying more for your electricity.
(While we've been compiling this post, a very interesting document has been emailed to us from America. Resolving Community Concerns over Local Wind Power Development in Utah looks like it has much to tell us about how communities can be rightly reassured, rather than grossly misled by their most nasty residents into opposing something that's good for everybody. It's an impressive piece which, with the authors' permission, we might try to make available by email. But evidently, there are ways of overcoming the little man's misguided opposition to wind power developments and depriving the Daily Mail of another misbegotten headline - so what's not to like?)