Page 5 - Phonebox Magazine October 2007
P. 5

Dear Editor
Last month's Phonebox Magazine carried several letters of denial by folk opposed to the
wind farm – declaring (for example) that the floods of yesteryear were far worse than recent years; so there's no problem? Well no, because such comparisons overlook the huge investment in recent years in remote-controlled sluice gates (such as on the Ouse at Olney). These are radio-linked to a central computer and are used to reduce peak water levels by smearing out flood waters over a larger area/ distance. Simply comparing flood levels from the pre 1970s era is misleading.
Another letter proclaimed that global warming is due to sun spot activity (which has some truth) but is however, at odds even with the advice now being given to George W Bush – that CO2 from burning coal and gas is without doubt a major problem.
And, finally, there was the petulent letter from a local resident who, like a spoilt child, just doesn't want to be affected by anything he doesn't like – and who proceeded to try to muddy the issue; arguing that I'm more to blame for global warming than him (hey, maybe I am – does that mean the issues don't exist?). Somewhat ridiculous claims were also made that gas-fired power stations need to remain at full-throttle spewing out CO2 in anticipation of a drop in the wind – it simply doesn't work like that – once the scale of wind farming is big enough the weather-induced changes are gradual and predictable – allowing such gas-fired power stations to be throttled-back or even switched-off.
We can only hope not everyone is so selfishly minded as to simply pass the buck on showing some responsibility.
There are indeed good grounds for exempting some sites from any attempt at installing Wind Farms but many would argue that these restrictions should be reserved for National Parks and areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty – surely not regular farmland hill-tops around a city like Milton Keynes? Anyway, doesn't ‘farming’ include farming the wind? And the beauty is that wind farms don't stop the ground being used exactly as it is already.
Bio-fuels are another option but are somewhat dubious – because a lot of fossil-fuel is consumed in sowing, fertilising, harvesting and processing them into fuels. True, they have a part to play – but only a part. And, there is plenty of research to show that their production consumes almost as much fuel as they then store. They are indeed a great way of creating a highly-dense energy source – but not an efficient means of harvesting nature's natural energy sources (wind, solar, tidal or wave power are much better options).
Perhaps the most useful outcome of discussions as to the pros and cons of a Wind Farm at Emberton might be (after it's all over) to help force the issue up the agenda – and foster some joined-up thinking about where we can agree our future power is going to come from. Because, at present, the human race is consuming fossil-fuels at the rate of one million-years-worth of deposits per annum. This cannot continue much longer, and the production of the associated greenhouse gasses isn't good either. We've allowed the coal-mines to collapse (thanks to Maggie) and North Sea gas and oil to be consumed like it was going out of fashion (thanks to Maggie, John, Tony and now Gordon), so now we are increasingly dependent on the Russians and the Middle East. Hopefully, nobody is happy with that?
Offshore wind farms and bio-fuels are indeed part (and only part) of the answer. But wind power has to be distributed nationally in order to be statistically predictable – a few ‘mega’ farms in coastal waters would be great but what, indeed, when that corner of Britain isn't windy? Therefore, there is good ground for wind farms to be distributed over a broad area – including inland sites as well as coastal waters.
continued on page 9
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Phonebox Magazine 5

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