IT is noticeable that over the last two or three years there has been an increasing number of applications for, and permissions granted, to allow the erection of wind turbines within the Oldham Borough, though in reality this means mainly within the Saddleworth area. This trend is evident also in the South Pennines and is mirrored countrywide.
Surrounding Saddleworth are the boroughs of Calderdale, Rochdale and Kirklees where the trend is even more marked; in the latter it is hard to be out of view of these things – some of them huge – with an increasingly adverse visual impact on the environment of the South Pennines.
Many Denshaw residents and travellers on the A672 will have seen the latest eyesore, just outside the Saddleworth boundary, courtesy of Rochdale Council, and which was opposed, to their credit, by Oldham. Saddleworth Parish Council also recently expressed concern over the cumulative effect of these machines on an area which draws a large income from tourism.
It is also worth noting that there can be severe noise problems; high frequency from the smaller 60ft ones, and low frequency from the larger/very large ones.
People are becoming more aware that these machines are intermittent and mechanically unreliable and that they produce only 7-30 per cent of the output which is claimed in planning applications. As a former CEO of the German energy firm e.on said some years ago, no one would build wind farms without the subsidies.
The question of CO2 emission and climate change is often advanced to try and justify turbines – even “domestic” ones.
Yet there is a singular lack of figures to show how much will be saved and never a reference to the vast CO2 production in manufacturing, transporting, installing, maintaining and de-commissioning them. It is inescapable that the major world economies of China, India, Brazil, Russia and the USA proceed on their way increasing CO2 production and deride our second-rate economy and its consistent failure to have a secure and sustainable energy policy which must involve gas, nuclear, oil and coal with some reliable renewable such as tidal.
The fact remains that all schemes, big and small, are money-grabbing projects for the greedy and hypocritical concealed behind a “green façade”.