Warning UK Is Being Overrun With Wind Farms
Parts of Britain are in danger of being overrun by wind farms because of the huge increase in the number under construction, campaigners have warned.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said the number of turbines over 30 metres high either already built, in construction or awaiting approval has soared to more 4,100 from just 685 in 2008.
They are concerned parts of the country, such as Cornwall and County Durham, are being ruined because protected areas and National Parks are becoming ringed by the machines.
The CPRE insists it accepts wind power is necessary to help fight climate change but says some communities are being inundated with applications for developments.
It also warned that wind developments are often grouped in certain areas, perhaps where they are likely to receive permission, which means large concentrations of turbines in one place.
The group warned of the risk of losing "the beauty and tranquillity of much-loved landscapes for at least a generation" and called on planning authorities to use their powers to protect landscapes.
Chief executive Shaun Spiers said: "We are seeing more and more giant turbines sited in inappropriate locations. Communities feel increasingly powerless in the face of speculative applications from big, well-funded developers, and this risks undermining public support for the measures needed to tackle climate change."
He added: "The Government must take responsibility and set out far more clearly a framework for meeting the country's energy needs while protecting our matchless countryside," he urged.
Despite CPRE's concerns, a recent poll showed two-thirds of people back the use of wind power and a majority - 57% - said the look of wind farms was "acceptable".
Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: "Wind turbines should always be sensitively sited, but one of the biggest threats to our countryside is climate change - and this is exactly what wind power can help defeat.
"It's time to stop tilting at windmills and get on with the urgent task of building a clean British energy industry that will boost our economy, create jobs and save us all money."
Industry body RenewableUK said only 1,826 turbines were currently being planned for England, and 8,581 for the UK as a whole.
The organisation's director of policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said: "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."