TURBINES: Elephant in the room for the election

Barmoor Wind Farm
Barmoor Wind Farm

The torrent of Liberal Democrat election propaganda pouring through our letterboxes is remarkably silent on one major issue: Wind turbines.

In the past, Sir Alan Beith told us that this was the main issue raised on his annual constituency tour.

Not surprising when the disproportionate number of wind turbines in Northumberland has long been of major concern to local communities and bodies such as the Northumberland and Newcastle Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Last year this led to a debate in the House of Lords, when a cross-party group of peers called for a stop to the wind rush in Northumberland.

But the Lib Dems mysteriously fail to mention the subject.

While squabbling with the Tories over credit for A1 dualling, they are silent on their responsibility for the energy portfolio during the Coalition Government. No mention of their rabid pro-wind policy and the wind turbine landscapes they have helped create.

Before the election campaign, Lib Dem energy ministers did not hesitate to tell the people of Northumberland to shut up and learn to love wind turbine arrays that have, overwhelmingly, been foisted on us by southern planning inspectors or government ministers.

In 2011, Chris Huhne told us that the North East had to learn to love ‘beautiful’ wind turbines and called for hundreds more to be given the go ahead (there were none in his county of Hampshire).

In 2014, the disgraced former Energy Minister told us that yet more turbine arrays should be built in Northumberland in order to keep the Scots happy. Though we have a greater density of renewables capacity than Scotland.

Ed Davey, the current Lib Dem Secretary of State, admitted last year that the UK has already consented enough turbines to greatly exceed 2020 government targets for onshore wind. The consequent subsidy spending will breach the Treasury’s own Levy Control Framework.

Yet the Lib Dem manifesto has a commitment to more onshore wind. They ignore the damage caused, the massive costs and the rapidly increasing amounts of unwanted wind power that is being dumped at our expense (over £53 million last year).

Mr Davey recently told the Newcastle Journal that, “If you look at the national opinion poll ratings for on-shore wind, it’s actually pretty popular.”

If so, why did Sir Alan Beith avoid all mention of the subject at the last general election, and why is Julie Pörksen ducking the issue now?

The Conservatives are the only party committed to limiting the onshore wind rush. Their manifesto states: “We will halt the spread of onshore windfarms. Onshore windfarms often fail to win public support and are unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires. As a result, we will end any new public subsidy for them and change the law so that local people have the final say on windfarm applications.”

Why are the Lib Dems still encouraging yet more heavily subsidised, foreign-owned wind totems in Northumberland’s iconic tourist landscapes?

Don Brownlow,