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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2005, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Head to head: Wind farms
Wind turbine
The answer, or the 'most-hated'?
A rally is being held on Saddleworth Moors, near Greater Manchester, to protest against plans to site seven 350ft wind turbines there.

The spread of wind farms across the UK has divided public opinion. A supporter of and a campaigner against wind turbines set out their cases.


Climate change is the most serious problem that humanity faces and the impact of burning fossil fuel is widely recognised.

The bottom line is that if we are serious about tackling climate change we have to look at renewable energy. The most commercially viable and technically mature option we have is wind power.

We are not going to meet our Kyoto targets and government targets on renewable energy without it.

Tens of thousands of modern wind turbines operate throughout the world.

In Britain we have the best wind resource in Europe, with three times the amount of wind blowing across our island than we need to meet our electricity needs.

Bird threat

The government aim is that we generate 10% of our power needs from renewables by 2010.

Wind power is the key to this plan - it's the most economic way, it's here now, whereas wave and tidal power are five to 10 years away from full commercial use.

The wind industry is expected to be generating 7% of the nation's electricity needs by 2010. This means another 3,500 turbines are required - 2,000 onshore and 1,500 offshore.

The electricity generated from a single wind turbine in a year is the equivalent to the electricity needs of a thousand homes over the same period - at the same time preventing the emission of 4,000 tonnes of CO2.

The majority of the population supports wind power, the latest poll showed nearly 80% of people believed wind farms were necessary to meet our future energy needs.

The biggest objection is that people don't like the look of them. But as many people see the turbines as an object of beauty as those who don't perceive them as such.

Wind farms are undertaken sensitively. They wouldn't be acceptable to planners if they interfered with wildlife.

An RSPB information leaflet said they'd not seen any major adverse effects on birds from wind farms. And a recent paper said the greatest threat to birds was in fact climate change.


Turbines generate a tiny amount of energy in relation to the damage to the landscape they cause.

They are giant industrial machines on an unspoilt landscape and they produce almost no electricity.

The UK's average winter energy demand is 45,000 megawatts at any one moment. There are about 1,100 turbines in the country and together they generate about 190 megawatts.

They also need back up from power stations so that they will supply electricity when the wind power stops.

Germany has 15,000 turbines and not one conventional power station has closed.

'Most hated'

Wind energy is very expensive - it costs three times the amount of a power station, because of government subsidies to wind developers.

It is a disaster for any areas that depend on tourism - and for people from the cities who want to come to those rural areas to unwind.

The government likes the turbines because you can see them - people think 'they must be green and clean' but they're not.

They (pro-wind power campaigners) say people have been surveyed and say they like wind power - but what people say is that they like renewable energy.

We want to cut CO2, but not this way. Country Life did a survey on 'what do you hate most?' - and the answer was wind farms.

People can put solar panels on their roofs - schemes are waiting in the wings for tidal energy.

We need to reduce our dependence on electricity in the home, for example to use low energy light bulbs.

Wind farm objectors hold summit
25 Jun 04 |  England

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