Sunday, 28 August 2011

Worth a thought

As the age of environmentalism continues to drive home the harsh reality; that we consume too many of the earth's resources, the proposed Atlantic Array (one of the worlds largest wind farms to be sited off Lundy) - throws up some interesting dilemmas.

Firstly most popular debate will classically fall into the Not In My Back Yard - NIMBY category, and unfortunately such argument really does little to abate the steam roller effect of such a national sponsored plan (approved by the Crown Commission).

The economist Tobin's view of Intergenerational equity (according to Wikipedia) is the closest thing to being a real thought provoker.
Basically it refers to a relationship that a particular family has on resources. 'An example is the forest-dwelling civilians in Papua New Guinea, who for generations have lived in a certain part of the forest and thus becomes their land. The adult population sell the trees for palm oil to make money. If they do so at an unsustainable level there will be no resources for their children or grandchildren in the future. The unsustainable use of resources would then lead to Intergenerational inequity'.

My concern is that by building such a large offshore power station (akin to the size of the isle of Wight) in both an AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty), Unesco Biosphere reserve and Marine conservation area, one might question whether Torridge district council should be agreeing a 1.5 gigawatt cabling through some of the countries finest coast line, and back through the villages of Abbotsham, Littleham and ultimately Alverdiscott.
(see article here from Local Press)

To date, the National Trust oppose this, yet the Local council who run AONB and the Biosphere reserve office, (according to article) have made no opposition.

Could this be that Torridge will be getting a considerable payout from the energy company, as NDDC did for the Fullabrook power plant (£120m into Council coffers). If this is the case, do you want your local council getting a payout/buy off, as it might slightly bias their view on whether to agree or not.

Hence my real concern on this, is I would rather a council that is lean and works hard to balance its books, without necessitating the selling of planning permissions. If this was a single developer, I believe this activity would be illegal ?

A completed wind farm of 418 wind turbines, could provide enough to power more than a million homes, but in terms of Carbon emissions for the build, how long will the £4.5bn spend take to recoup from its enormous environmental impact. Hopefully the UK government (who will be heavily subsidising this through our taxes) has done their sums correctly, and taken on some basic environmental economic premises such as Tobin's (Intergenerational equity).

Certainly - one thing is clear, in terms of view, future generations will never get to share the same uninterrupted landscape and horizon (pictured above) that ours and past generations have.

If you have any view or further interest; perhaps drop by when the consultation is on -
10th September
10am - 5pm
Abbotsham Village Hall, Abbotsham, Bideford, EX39 5AP

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this Howard. I'm finding it hard to get my head round. I like the idea of wind farms sometimes but this proposal is a daunting environmental concern. The map you can see online shows how huge an area it would take up. Apart from the enormous visual impact and the extra man made material littering the sea - could it also affect the swell reaching Wales for surfing? My gut feeling is against this project. I am, however, in favour of the Fullabrook project. I believe all forms of industrual power production have involved subsidisation and financial rewards to get them started, I don't think this is an issue exclusive to wind farms, but I may be wrong - I'm no expert.

    As we know, it's clear that we have to focus on reducing our electricity use more than just building more sources of power.

    (I wonder if £4.5bn was spent on installing solar panels on people's homes instead we could reduce our usage of electricity from the grid by a similar amount as would be produced by a wind farm?)