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Last Updated: Tuesday December 18 2007 16:55 GMT

Wind power in the UK

Globalisation - environmental implications

Wind turbines


Every home in Britain could be powered by wind farms within the next 12 years if government plans get the go ahead.

Officials have unveiled plans to build up to 7,000 wind turbines off the coast of the UK to boost wind-powered energy.

This page links to all the resources needed to hold a class debate on the pros and cons of wind power as an alternative energy source.


The UK could get more of its energy from environmentally-friendly sources in future. Government ministers want 20% of Britain's energy to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Wind power is likely to play a big part in this. Wind turbines are being built more quickly than experts expected and there are now more than 50 wind farms in the UK.

Learning aims

  • Arguments for and against wind farms
  • How to structure a debate
  • Context: What are carbon emission targets?

    Read out this Press Pack report to the class.

    Ask students:

    1. Are you worried about global warming?

    2. How should we reduce greenhouse gasses?

    3. What do you think about wind power as a source of clean energy?

    4. Would you still be enthusiastic if a wind farm was planned at your favourite beauty spot?

    Main activity

    Class debate

    Explain that the class is going to debate the issues surrounding wind farms.

    A debate is based around a suggestion or motion.

    The motion is:

    This house supports more wind farms.

    Divide the class into proposers (for the motion) and opposers (against the motion).

    Students research and write down arguments which either support or oppose the motion.

    A summary of arguments can be found on the worksheets and guides in the blue box.

    Wind farm

    Select seven students to be:

    • Speaker. This person chairs the debate but cannot take part or vote.
    • First proposer to speak
    • First opposer to speak
    • Opposer to sum up
    • Proposer to sum up
    • Two tellers to count the votes
    Hold the debate in this order:

  • The Speaker presents the motion.
  • The first proposer presents the arguments for the motion.
  • The first opposer presents the arguments against the motion.
  • One of the proposers presents their arguments for the motion.
  • An opposer presents their arguments against the motion.
  • This side to side motion continues until everyone has had their say.
  • An opposer sums up their group's main argument.
  • A proposer sums up their group's main argument.
  • Name one side of the classroom the 'aye' wall and the opposite side the 'no' wall.
  • The Speaker re-reads the motion.

    Students vote twice

    1. Students vote to support or oppose the motion, depending on which they thought were the most convincing and well-constructed arguments. This may not necessarily be what they believe personally. The Speaker can't vote.

    They do so by going to the 'aye' or 'no' side of the classroom.

    The two tellers count up the votes (bodies), on either side of the room.

    The Speaker announces the result of the vote.

    2. Students vote according to their beliefs. The Speaker is no longer in role and can therefore vote.

    As before, the two tellers count up the votes (bodies), on either side of the room and the Speaker announces the result of the vote.

    Extension activity

    After the debate, each student writes a personal statement of their opinions.

    They pick five arguments that match their viewpoint and include them in a report that starts "I support/I oppose banning wind farms because..."

    Teachers' background

  • A rejected application for a new Cumbrian wind farm provides a good case study. It would have included 27 wind turbine generators, each with a minimum capacity of 2.5MW.

  • These kind of turbines have a hub height of 70 metres (229 ft) and a total height of 115 metres (377 ft) i.e. 75% of the height of Blackpool Tower. Each blade is 45 metres long, giving a diameter of 90 metres.

  • The proposed location in Cumbria was on open moorland between the Lake District National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park. It would have been visible for many miles.

  • The developers claimed up to 60 people would have been employed during the construction, with up to six people being employed during the life of the farm.

    For hundreds more news-based lesson plans, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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