Stars back wind farm campaign

By David GreenTHE wind power industry is using the results of a new opinion poll to launch a fresh celebrity-led campaign to counter the claims of its critics.

By David Green

THE wind power industry is using the results of a new opinion poll to launch a fresh celebrity-led campaign to counter the claims of its critics.

The new campaign, by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), aims to unite people in favour of wind energy and challenge “myths” that wind farms are unpopular, noisy and blots on the landscape.

Celebrity support is being led by television presenter, Chris Tarrant, and Guy Berryman, from the band Coldplay.

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The BWEA commissioned a National Opinion Poll survey of 1,000 people across Britain between August 27 and 29.

It was unable to give a figure for the number of people contacted in East Anglia for the survey, but said results for the region suggested 74% of people agreed that wind farms were necessary to help meet current and future energy needs.

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The survey found 70% of people questioned in East Anglia would support the development of a wind farm in their area and 65% thought wind farms were necessary to produce renewable energy and what they looked like was unimportant.

It also found 55% of people who had seen a wind farm disagreed that they were a blot on the landscape.

The BWEA said the survey also showed that people who had seen a wind farm were more than twice as likely to disagree that they were noisy.

Marcus Rand, the association's chief executive, said: “Time is running out on climate change and wind power is essential to averting its potential impacts.”

Andy Holdcraft, managing director of Ipswich-based renewable energy company, Your Energy, added: “It is time that, as an industry and committed world player in the fight against climate change, we encourage the silent majority to express their views.”

He claimed critics of wind power were often “short-termist, narrow-minded and blinkered”.

But East Anglian opponents of land-based wind farms rejected the BWEA poll results as “meaningless” and “rubbish”.

Dr John Constable, chairman of the No Wind Farm at Parham group, said: “They have asked a small number of people what they think about turbines, but we don't know if these people actually know much about the facts of the power industry.”

Jane Bastow, spokeswoman for Villagers Against Inappropriate Siting of Turbines, the group that successfully opposed a wind farm near Halesworth, claimed the figures produced by BWEA were “complete and utter rubbish”.

She added: “Our own experience is that most people are opposed to wind farms in their localities.

“Increasingly, people's eyes are being opened to the renewable energy industry's blinkered concentration on wind power.”

n The Renewable Energy Foundation, formed partly to campaign against plans for “unsightly” land-based wind farms, has welcomed a Government decision to provide a further £6million of funding for solar energy projects.

Chief executive, Campbell Dunford, said solar power had received far too little attention so far.

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