By Kari Williamson
RenewableUK has nevertheless welcomed CPRE's recognition of the importance of onshore wind to the UK's efforts to tackle climate change in their report Generating light on landscape impacts.
The press release originally accompanying the report, however, claimed that “more than 12,000” onshore wind turbines were planned, under construction or already operational, misquoting RenewableUK's statistics, which show only 1826 wind turbines planned for England and 8581 for the entire UK.
Renewables help protect the landscape
Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK's Director of Policy, says: "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 1826 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% of rural residents were in favour of the use of wind power, compared to 66% of urban residents. Strikingly, 62% of people living in the countryside find the visual impact of wind turbines acceptable, compared to 57% 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," concludes.