I have just been made privy to some correspondence between a constituent and the CPRE, in which the CPRE (a certain Dustin Benton, who works on “the CPRE’s climate and energy policy”) sets out a pro-wind-farm policy. Genuflecting to the conventional view, Mr. Benton says that “the threat that climate change poses to the beauty and character of England’s landscapes justifies the development of a wide range of renewables, including on and offshore wind”, and adds for good measure “We believe that wind power, especially offshore, where the wind blows more strongly and where wind farms can be more easily sited to reduce visual impact, should make a significant contribution to the provision of vitally needed renewable electricity”.
I have written to Mr. Benton pointing out that this seems rather at odds with the expressed view of the Chief Executive of CPRE, Shaun Spiers, who is quoted as saying that “We may come to see wind turbines as the redundant relics of our compulsion to do something” (though they now claim he meant that wind turbines would be redundant unless we also did a load of other stuff) . I think that Mr. Spiers was right first time, and that Mr. Benton is wrong.
But I was struck by another remark in Mr. Benton’s e-mail: “CPRE’s pylons campaign is calling for pylons to be undergrounded in nationally designated landscapes. We believe that large pylons and other intrusive forms of built development harm the character of areas that are designated for their natural beauty”.
In my note to Mr. Benton, I have said “I am struck by the obvious benefits to landscape and the environment of having pylons “undergrounded” (a new verb in my lexicon). I think that onshore wind turbines would also be much more acceptable if they were undergrounded”.
Now there’s a solution we could all applaud.