Support for wind in countryside strong – two-thirds of rural residents back wind power

Paul Boughton
RenewableUK, the trade and professional association for the wind, wave and tidal industries, has welcomed the recognition by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England of the importance of onshore wind to the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change in their report ‘Generating light on landscape impacts’.
The report raises concerns about the impact on England’s landscapes of excessive onshore wind development. The press release originally accompanying the report claimed that ‘more than 12,000’ turbines were planned, under construction or already operational. It misquoted RenewableUK statistics, which actually show only 1,826 turbines are planned for England and 8,581 for the entire UK.
Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, said: “Striking a balance between our need for renewable energy to help combat climate change, while also protecting the landscape we all cherish, is the role of our planning system. However, given the CPRE have now realised that there’s less than a sixth of turbines planned than they thought – only 1,826 compared to the 12,000 they originally stated, surely they should be more reassured.  

"Perhaps their confusion over the figures is why they’re so out of step with what people in rural areas actually think, in terms of both landscape impacts and overall popularity” “The CPRE claims that more layers of bureaucracy are needed in the planning process, but the current planning system already rightly provides environmental safeguards which are among the most stringent in the world.  As a result residents of the countryside welcome green energy  – a recent poll found that people in rural areas were more likely to be supportive of the use of wind power than those in towns and cities.”
A recent Ipsos MORI poll found that 68 per cent of rural residents were in favour of the use of wind power, compared to 66 per cent of urban residents. Strikingly, 62% of people living in the countryside find the visual impact of wind turbines acceptable, compared to 57 per cent of people in urban areas.
“The biggest threat to our valued landscapes is climate change. Onshore wind is the cheapest source of low-carbon power, and restricting its development would jeopardise our firm commitment to offer value for money to the consumer, as well as green energy. It’s clear that only some locations are suitable for wind – but the way to identify those is by assessing each wind farm on its own merits, not the top-down approach the CPRE is proposing .” Dr Edge concluded.
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