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Windfarm Wars: Filming the renewable energy debate in Devon

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Jeremy Gibson Jeremy Gibson | 12:32 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

When I convinced the BBC to commission Windfarm Wars, call me naive, but I had no idea it would take seven years of my life to deliver. And doubtless most of the people we've followed with the camera over all those years didn't figure their lives would evolve this way either.

And, over that time, the whole question of how the country best provides for its burgeoning energy needs in a sustainable way has, quite simply, become more and more tortuous. Toxic even.

Windfarms divide opinion like few other topics. They are beautiful to some, eyesores to others.

Rachel Ruffle from Renewable Energy Systems, standing by a wind turbine.

They are free sustainable energy or expensively inefficient. They desecrate the landscape, or they protect its future existence.

For a filmmaker treading into this minefield, the antagonism between incoming developers and the local residents they seek to convince can be most difficult to negotiate.

Renewable Energy Systems, or RES, first put forward their plans for a windfarm in Devon in 2004.

It would be sited four-and-a-half miles from the northern edge of Dartmoor National Park, in the shallow valley of Den Brook.

I started as the film's executive producer, largely office-based, but with a director and small team on location.

But, seven years later, I had become the sole production member the budget could still afford to have on location, shooting on my own to see the story through - and the windfarm had still not been built

Early on, we were lucky enough to gain access to all sides of the Den Brook dispute, from developers RES, to landowners and protestors alike, and to the council and council planning committee.

As the story went on, and on, over the years, this access widened to include lawyers and barristers, expert witnesses, and the planning inspectors involved in public inquiries.

Maintaining everyone's commitment and involvement over the long years of the process demanded confidentiality and tact.

Each side had to trust that we would not tell the other things that only we knew.

Windfarm Wars was originally commissioned as a single film - an observational documentary. We would follow whatever happened, wherever developments took us.

By the time the commission fell into place and the director of the first film, Olly Lambert, arrived in Devon, RES had already held their introductory exhibitions, where they showed the residents of the nearby villages what the windfarm might look like and where it would be situated, and answered their interests and concerns.

Feelings for and against the windfarm were already running high.

It's difficult to gauge the true feelings of a whole community. One of the ways is to go by those who have bothered to write letters to the council.

When the closing date came, the council had 402 letters and 3,000 questionnaires in objection and 31 letters in support.

We roughly assembled the material as we went along but each time a viewing with the BBC had come due, it was apparent that a chapter may have finished - but the big story was still unresolved.

Luckily they had the vision to keep running with it. Eventually it became a four-part series. BBC channel controllers have come and gone while waiting for it to materialise.

At times, as long waits for the next part of the planning or legal process had to be endured, it was tempting to wrap up the project, but I wanted everyone involved in the whole process to know it was being documented very publicly, and that it would be seen through to the end.

Bash and Mike Hulme, who were campaigning against the wind farm, outside their cottage in Devon.

And, as concerns about global warming, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and the security of energy supplies became more and more acute over the years, the project gained in significance, and just had to be seen through.

What emerged is what I hope some people will see as a unique social record of how one of the nation's key dilemmas has unfolded in the early 21st century.

The four films unravel as a narrative story, and while viewers think they may know where they stand initially, a fair few may well change along the way.

Windfarm Wars will no doubt raise tempers, and for some of the many people who've taken part it will be difficult viewing - not least to see how we've all aged through the process.

Perhaps it will be difficult too, because all sides may need to confront and acknowledge mistakes, to review how they could have done things better.

For many, it's clearly been a journey that's taken courage, commitment and faith in the search for what each perceive to be the truth - the best way forward for the good of all. There may be regrets.

I hope, though, that the end product of the process of documentation has been usefully revealing and thought provoking, and that it will, in time, repay the commitment that many gave to the project. We'll see - soon enough.

Jeremy Gibson started as executive producer and also worked as series producer of Windfarm Wars.

Windfarm Wars is on BBC Two on Fridays at 7pm until Friday, 3 June. The first two episodes are available in iPlayer until Friday, 10 June.

For further programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I really enjoyed this, one of those hidden programs that is far better than the mainstream stuff on bbc1.

    The only thing that confuses me is how its going to end, I cheated and googled the project after the end of the first episode to see what happens, and still cannot figure out if its going ahead or not. Maybe it will be like Lost and we will end with a hatch in the ground!

  • Comment number 2.

    Having participated throughout the filming of this revealing documentary series, I can only say "well done" to Jeremy Gibson and his team for producing such a watchable, accurate and impartial record. The characters and events are allowed to speak for themselves. Some truths are out.

    Curious, though, that the developer has already started to put out defensive videos. Perhaps they were surprised at what an objective vision actually looks like, and can't credit that this is how they seem to others.

    One can only hope that policy and decision makers will watch and take note; and act to right the wrongs being perpetrated without due consideration.

  • Comment number 3.

    Indeed the term “toxic” springs to my mind. Green isn’t working, it has become toxic in a number of respects:

    The utopian dream of wind has turning into a dystopian nightmare. Divisive a threat to landscapes and energy security, expensive (already cost us £2billion) adding to fuel poverty. The John Muir Trust’s report on “Wind farm research concludes they are not a fit and proper solution to: the perceived need to cut carbon emissions, the growing demand for energy security, and will have significant human, environmental and economic impacts.”

    Also green jobs growth is not sustainable, because for every 1 new green job created 3.7 jobs will be lost in the real economy and carbon dioxide taxes will cause “carbon leakage” – the export of British jobs to countries without carbon dioxide taxes. Evidence of this is the export of 1,200 TATA steels workers jobs and the threat to the 600,000 workers in the energy-intensive chemical industry. Not a vote winner!

    The ‘Green Deal’ has also gone pear-shaped, the E3G report stated that proposed retrofit of housing to be more energy efficient will cost £15,000 in loans at 8% and will not save on energy costs, it would not be worth the trouble! Even if the loans were 0% and the household gained a 35% energy saving they would be worse off by £2,777 over 25 years. The report concludes that the public - quite rightly - would reject the ‘Green Deal’.

    Why do we only find this out after the policy has been announced?
    I am reminded that the dictionary definition of a green person - is gullible.

    And let’s not over look the fact that carbon dioxide taxes and green subsidies will increase the average energy bill from £1,215 to £2,500 per year or more. This regressive tax will increase the price of food, clothes and travel, which especially impacts on our rural communities.

    The Times stated that 5.5 million households or 21% of the 26 million British households suffer fuel poverty – spending more than 10% of their monthly income on energy bills.

    Last February, overnight temperatures fell to minus 10, and this winter temperatures fell in some parts of the UK to minus 23. Being cold in the home increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. So much for global warming!

    There are now 20% more cold related deaths in winter. Resulting in an average of 30,000 excess winter deaths across the UK. That is around 250 excess deaths per day. The current policy will only make the situation worse for those on low-fixed incomes. The reality is we should stick to fossil fuels in the short to medium term and develop better alternatives to wind and solar. We have time - and over 250 years worth of shale gas on our doorstep let’s use it. Conclusion - green = toxic.

  • Comment number 4.

    As someone who has had to complain dozens even a hundred times regarding their totally biased covering of the global warming "debate", I will be very interested to see how much push this failed concept by blatantly suggesting that global warming is a huge problem that needs to be solved.

    The facts are that the "science" only supports a fraction of the suggested warming (the rest is pie in the sky speculation). The facts are that there is no indication of a rise in extreme weather events worldwide. The facts are that there is no CO2 signature of sea levels. The only supporting "facts" remain Arctic ice retreat by about 3% over a relatively short period (since satellites) and anecdotal evidence ice was just as scarce in the early 20th century. And glacier melts ... which has been happening since the last big and little ice ages.

    Given the compelling evidence against this global warming nonsense, I will watch with interest to see any actual balance on this subject (Note: the BBC are legally required to be unbiased and to give us all the evidence even if the "scientists" keep trying to deny us the evidence and by e.g. ignoring Freedom of Information law.)

  • Comment number 5.

    FayKT: "Also green jobs growth is not sustainable, because for every 1 new green job created 3.7 jobs will be lost in the real economy".

    Back around 2000 I tried for about a year to get the Scottish Parliamentary Renewable Energy Group (a cross party group of the parliament) to look at the economics of wind energy. Having researched the area, it was obvious to me that this sector would create very few jobs. I wrote many letters to MSPs to the paper, but for one simple reason it never got discussed by this cross party group of the parliament: IT WAS RUN BY THE WIND LOBBY!

    I've never had the misfortune to see how other cross party groups run, but how any democratic institution could allow its parliamentary committees to be run by wind lobbyists seems like the basist form of corruption. It was also rumoured that the person running the wind lobby group in Scotland and the committee had bought up all the best wind sites for their own profit. OK, it was only a rumour and one I cannot substantiate. But did anyone ever investigate? Did the BBC do anything when I wrote to them?

    No!

    And, I can remember attending a meeting when the Scottish Civil servants actually asked a room full of people with a business interest in wind farms: "what level of subsidy do you think we should set". The impression I got was very clearly that they would set the level at whatever the room suggested. I was horrified at the time when I was intending to work in the sector. Now that I've learnt global warming was a total con based on a small bit of science and huge bit of .... "economy with the truth", it amazes me that they were allowed to get away with this.

    Almost literally you could say the renewable energy policy was dictated to the government by the wind lobby. No wonder it was such an abysmal mess and so disliked by anyone who was affected (including most of those in the room as little of the financial benefit flowed to anyone in manufacturing ...the only people to make a fortune were a few wind farm developers and rich landowners)

  • Comment number 6.

    Being green is so yesterday.

  • Comment number 7.

    Surely this series deserves an early airing in a mainstream slot on BBC1? You really cannot turn it off once you start watching. Are we really limited to just two more episodes?

    The characters could have stepped out of Shakespeare.

    Good, simple, honest, open Mike Hulme. His home and livelihood are at risk; he spent the first two episodes wrestling with the green issues, and trying to frame the questions about turbine noise that he wished to pose at the public inquiry. – And of course (if the trailer for part 3 is correct) he succeeds in extracting a severe rebuke from our high court against bad guys ‘RES’ (Renewable Energy Systems) who live on the M25 next to a turbine that boasts the lowest output of any in the country.

    Now to the multi-faceted (and wonderfully named) Rachel Ruffle of ‘RES’. Having accepted Mike’s invitation to make background noise measurements around his home, she spent weeks thinking up reasons to renege on her undertaking to give him the data.

    Rachel appears to have indulged in amateur dramatics at some time and believes that she can bring viewers on side with a combination of schoolgirl simpering and crying. Her only ambition is to save the planet, and to do this she poses as ‘Development Director, Renewable Energy Systems UK and Ireland’ with a parallel brief to bring Turbines to the whole world. It now seems that ‘Own Goal’ Ruffle should have sought an early Superinjunction! I wouldn’t buy shares in ‘RES’.

    The icing on the cake is provided by Rachel’s lawyer, pink tie-stroking and somewhat overstuffed Marcus Trinnick. Here is a man who knows a thing or two about keeping down yokels who want to know the truth about industrial wind turbines. Clearly the masses have no right to know whether they will produce any significant electrical output, nor how much it will cost.

    Nor, apparently, to know whether they will be so loud with their continual ‘whump-whump’ as to make sleep and sanity impossible. The ‘whumps’ are called amplitude modulation apparently. But this is not yet incorporated in the noise codes for turbines lest it denude the wind-power industry of megabucks. Oh, I forgot to mention – Marcus has served as a member of the board of the British Wind Energy Association – the industry’s lobby group. And, err ... yes of course, British Wind Energy Association was renamed RenewableUK in March 2010. Could this have anything to do with growing anti wind-turbine sentiment in the UK? – Surely not.

    Two episodes down and two to go – bring it on!

  • Comment number 8.



    I am sure those people who think they are unaffected or who have not experienced first hand the effects of global warming have a different outlook!!! I don’t think the documentary to date has shown this view point and have to agree with the Telegraph article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8525649/Windfarm-Wars-episode-2-BBC-Two-review.html , the episodes so far are not impartial from what I see!! If the director really wanted to capture this snap shot in time maybe he should have gone and filmed some of the devastation and the impact that adverse weather is causing round the world. As a mother with young children, I have to believe that future generations must be the priority. If the turbines turn out to be as useless as some of the locals seeks to claim, they will be removed almost without trace – climate change effects are unlikely to be so easily removed. I would love to have one.

  • Comment number 9.

    Whilst at one point I would have supported R Jones' view. I now know that in the minority of cases where, for whatever reason, amplitude modulation, and indeed enhanced amplitude modulation DOES occur, it can mean that your own children are subjected to noise that deprives them of sleep, which in consequence significantly affects their ability to be educated, (because they are so tired and thus unable to concentrate). It is difficult, perhaps impossible then to support the need for this particular alternative energy source, in your own area, when it has and is having such an impact on your family life - including your children. As a mother I have found it very hard to sacrifice my children for the greater good. More research, better grid layouts, and better operating conditions are desperately required, as well as an acknowledgement by the industry that in the comparatively few cases where noise is a real problem, that they should acknowledge and address it, sooner rather than later.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello everyone - Jeremy Gibson has asked me to post this comment on his behalf as he's not near a computer today:

    Thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to post your feedback on the series.

    I'm tempted to take up a few of the comments posted so far, but as the last comment uses the recent Telegraph crit as evidence, I'll just point you to that same paper's latest preview of episode 3, on tonight at 7pm on BBC2 (not Scotland) - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5602956/TV-highlights.html

    As I said at the beginning, this is a narrative story - anything may happen - and does.

  • Comment number 11.

    Really interesting documentary from what I’ve seen so far, I’ve been following the tweets on twitter for a bit and liked the one ’ they want their cake icing and want to eat it’’ Been enjoying it as it’s a real insight as to what people do and think and full respect to the planning inspector can’t be an easily job, they seem to do a full investigation but I guess they have to given all the scrutiny, love the bit when he is at the B&B and assessing what impact there might be from the up stairs windows and he clearly knows what he's about and where the wind farms are going to be seen from and how you would normally layout a guest bedroom!! He was not having any of it !!


  • Comment number 12.

    The film so far anyway have not change my attitude, our planning is still laughable ineffective and useless, to slow, to clumbersome and a wast of money.

    An if we are to build what we need to build over the next 50 years it will a radical overhauled that cut out much of the rubbish that goes on.

    The film prove to me we need this more than ever. This was not even a major development, 9 wind turbines is just small fry to what we actually need to build in this country.

    I give the produces and the credit for having the patent to stick through all the of the rubbish that goes on through out planning system.

    I wish the developers best of luck in getting this project of the ground. Hopefully the next one will not take 7 years to get planning permission for.

    NIMBY need to be defeated in the country.

  • Comment number 13.

    Only caught two episodes but I think it's great TV.
    Just had a presentation from Dong Energy for an extension windfarm off the Wirral coast. Try as I would, I couldn't get from them an estimate of the likely output from the new windfarm, only the "installed capacity" which assumes the wind is always ideal.
    The whole wind energy plot is to keep the public ignorant of the level of subsidies, the poor output over long periods (around 25%), the building of extra gas powered stations to compensate for wind variability and the deleterious effect of the National Grid.
    Still, to the politicians, "green energy" is a simple concept, bound to win votes.
    I will not ever again vote for an MP who takes the simple view.

  • Comment number 14.

    I am really enjoying this series. I started as a huge fan of all types of renewable energy and probably like many people thought that people who moaned about having wind farms near them were doing simply that - moaning. However, I have to say I am reconsidering my opinion. It seems from this series and from other items I have read that wind farms can generate a huge amount of noise pollution which can be utterly unbearable to those living near. I can't help but admire Mike Hulme whose professional and, at least externally, unemotional battle to get at the real facts of this is fascinating. It is amazing how this quiet Devon farmer can make experienced, professional people look a little foolish and inept.

    As I said, I am very much in favour of green energy, but are wind farms really the best solution? It seems schemes like these are being pushed through as fast as possible (although not in this case!) in order that the government can meet its green energy targets but without sufficient impartial evidence to show that they are effective means of generating power without adverse 'side effects'. The fact that that the wind farm companies base their expected power output on what it would be in the wind blew strongly all the time is completely ridiculous. Why on earth is it not based on a study of local conditions in the proposed area over an extended period of time? Surely that is just common sense?

    In the wider sense why not promote other less invasive forms of renewable energy such as photovoltaic cells (my roof is covered in them, all generating electricity silently!), wave power (again silent I think, or certainly less obtrusive) or much smaller wind turbines. If there has to be wind farms, can't the turbines be much smaller so as to create considerably less noise and less visual impact. 120 feet is pretty massive, lets face it. Can the gearing be changed so they turn slower and therefore reduce the noise? After all, windmills of previous centuries were not noisy (except inside obviously) and did not have an adverse visual impact. They turned slowly and steadily. Would turbines designed to look like windmills be more acceptable? We have mobile phone masts designed to look like trees after all...

  • Comment number 15.

    Graham is right.
    the WIND man speaks with forked tongue. They have taken in the uninformed and numerically illiterate MPs .

    INSTALLED CAPACITY is the amound of electricity that COULD be generated if they run 365 days a year in ideal conditions.

    This is the basis of the number of wind turbines they calculate will need to be 100% 'reliant' on Wind Energy.

    Without adding in other factors that will increase this figure, lets look just at Installed Capacity and Load Factor .

    For easy counting lets imagine they say we need 10,000 3MW turbines to reach 100% from wind.

    If the LOAD FACTOR- lets think of it as efficiency or average output for the moment- is even the optimistic 30% as the wind industry claim (NOT 100% you will note ) , then the minimum number of turbines needed would actually be THREE times what they are calculating based on Installed Capacity.

    So this jumps to 30,000 Turbines , not 10,000, and the area covered also is hugely increased. If you install larger output turbines the numbers of course decrease, but the spacing has then to be increased for them to operate correctly.
    ORCHID says use smaller turbines, but that means MORE turbines , more area covered, and more people effected.

    If the true Load Factor of an average Wind Farm is a more realistic 20% (1/5th ) then that original number of imaginary turbines suddenly rises to FIVE times the number of turbines they originally calculated based on 100% Load Factor.
    So NOT 10,000, but 50,000

    And if you think that even that guarantees 100% output you only have to look at intermitancy figures and actual outputs as low as 4% (effectively zero useful generation) to see that the Wind Industry are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

    Knowles2 is entitled to his opinion(and so am I) These Turbines work well on the small scale, and where there is a local demand, they should have them. The Northern Isles people for example do not all want to have to be a Power Station for the city dwellers who can't even be bothered to save electricity, why should they. However, if locals want a few turbines for local use , this is the true best use of this technology. It does not scale up.

    The wind lobby have taken in the MP's as green jobs is a vote winner (or they are just gullable, stupid or both)

    Listen out for people who use the Words 'Installed Capacity', it's a key phrase used by the Wind Industry, and it IS designed to mislead.

  • Comment number 16.

    Caught this programme by accident yesterday, and was hooked!

  • Comment number 17.

    Apart from being biased against wind turbines this programme is a good illustration of why the UK is now such a mess. On the one hand we have a company trying to develop a viable new energy source and a farmer trying to generate a good income form his farmland. Pitted against them we have the NIMBY villagers with too much time on their hands who seem happy to stifle this key development for their own selfish gains.

    Then you through in the grasping lawyers, reams of red tape that strangle any business and an archaic planning and legal system that slows any new devlopement to a snails pace.

    Mix it all togther and you have 21st Century Britain a living museum where nothing ever gets built for fear of upsetting any inhabitants.

  • Comment number 18.

    In the wider sense why not promote other less invasive forms of renewable energy such as photovoltaic cells (my roof is covered in them, all generating electricity silently!), wave power (again silent I think, or certainly less obtrusive) or much smaller wind turbines. If there has to be wind farms, can't the turbines be much smaller so as to create considerably less noise and less visual impact. 120 feet is pretty massive, lets face it. Can the gearing be changed so they turn slower and therefore reduce the noise? After all, windmills of previous centuries were not noisy (except inside obviously) and did not have an adverse visual impact. They turned slowly and steadily. Would turbines designed to look like windmills be more acceptable? We have mobile phone masts designed to look like trees after all...

    Basically, it a no to all those questions. The reasons wind mills are design like they are is because they are the efficient design we have come up with so far. Change the design, reducing size for instants reduces the efficiencies.

    Solar power is all well and good, except it does not work at night without expensive battery facilities. An they are expensive to install, but getting cheaper. An I have my doubt many people would actually be willing to invest in solar panels for the house on there own.

    Wave power is still the most undeveloped form of renewable out. There are a few trials going one, but a commericial farm is at least 5 years away, and that if the test go well. I believe there so far been little to no impact studies on wild life habitat so.

  • Comment number 19.

    I ask myself this:
    i) is it fair on families who might have to live next to nuclear power stations along the coast, to supply most of our electricity, because of a few NIMBYS in the countryside, who's main argument is they are worried about their views !?
    ii) is it a good idea to use up the worlds precious resources on coal fired power stations and nuclear power stations so future generations have no resourse left!!
    There are only so many places windfarms can go because of all the existing restrictions placed on the countryside and where there is enough wind for them to run effectively !! Over the past few years i have taken an interest in green matters and now have a 2.22kWh solar PV system on my roof, which is all I can get on there. It unfortunately does not produce enough green, clean, energy for us to be completely sustainable at the mo, but it helps!!

    Last nights episode showed bang up to date recording equipment measuring sound on an old windfarm site, which it would appear the locals searched the whole of the country to find in order to get the worse case scenario ... and they also amplified the sound!! Now I ask you is that a fair comparable!?!! As the sound recording technologies have improved in the last year, so have the design of windfarms and planning guidance protecting community interests. From the programme so far Rachel Ruffle seems like she is a conscientious developer who is passionate about her job, and I don't personally see noise being an issue here, the local chap Mike Hulme said it for himself she can't lie or something along them lines.. we need as much green, clean, energy we can get, can't we all do our bit here for the bigger picture?!

  • Comment number 20.

    R Jones - last nights filming was done at a house in 2007, with a wind farm erected in 2006. The sound was amplified to give you an idea of the CHARACTER of the noise, as the low frequency noise does not transmit through the media of television. The graphs on screen showed actual wind turbine noise (not the amplified noise) in a 16 year old girls bedroom, that prevented her sleeping. That family left their home in 2007, due to the effects of sleep deprivation on their lives, including work and education, and have still not been able to return home - 4 years later!
    That house suffers from Amplitude Modulation and Low Frequency Noise from the turbines 100m away. Currently there is no legislation to protect the relatively few homes that suffer in this way - Mike Hulme is trying to get an enforceable noise condition in place, so that if (not when) such a problem arose at Den Brook it can be enforced and mitigated against. Is it so unreasonable to deny the ordinary person that kind of protection?

  • Comment number 21.

    Given Rachel Ruffle's advocacy of windfarms what about a 606 foot wind turbine as near her home as possible? Some other great locations would be in Hyde Park, Wimbledon Common, all the London 'green belt', Kent, Oxfordshire and the inner home counties - maximum density housing areas.

  • Comment number 22.

    I thought when I saw the first episode that here we had a developer trying to put an acceptable face on the proceedings using a resident as a project manager. I hadn't seen anything like that before and suspected it was for the benefit of the cameras. As a cynic I wondered when the 'resident' Rachel Ruffle would up sticks and leave the area she had helped ruin for the sake of an inefficient energy. Episode three and she was gone. Surrounded by packing cases, one, no doubt containing the framed turbine picture visible in the first episode hanging from her wall.
    This is not the situation I have observed. The tactics are the same. People requesting data and having it denied. People fighting for their homes, quality of life and the environment. Spending thousands of pounds of their own money and years of their lives trying to protect where they live for themselves and future generations. To call everyone who objects NIMBYS is misinformed and offensive. The climate change issue is debatable with eminent scientists arguing on both sides. The race for wind is destroying our wild places and landscapes. It is not as green as people think - the manufacture and installation is highly polluting with thousands of tonnes of concrete used in the turbine bases and infrastructure. This film is touching on some issues but there are others including bird attrition and the destruction of habitats. Wind energy is not worth the price we are all paying. It is inefficient, unreliable, uneconomic, polluting and wind farms would not be built without the massive subsidies (taken from all our energy bills) paid to the developers. They, along with the landowners, are getting richer and we are all getting poorer from increased energy bills and loss of environment. Spend the money researching and subsidising something that works better and doesn't destroy people's lives.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ann and SoSad! I note that you cannot bring the bigger picture into your responses, I guess this is because your argument is so weak and therefore you cover this by making silly comments!!

  • Comment number 24.

    It’s difficult to know where to start given the blinkers that R Jones has donned. Assertion does not equate to reality – you MUST produce a numerate argument. Here is some suggested reading:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1374251/Wind-farms-working-just-21-capacity.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8528083/Wales-in-revolt-over-mammoth-wind-farm-scheme.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8528002/The-talk-of-David-Camerons-leadership-qualities-obscures-the-mess-hes-leading-us-into.html

    I am referring to Booker’s comments on Huhne in the latter link.

    Then there is:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361316/250bn-wind-power-industry-greatest-scam-age.html

    Finally, if a book is not out of the question I recommend:

    ‘The Wind Farm Scam’ (publ: Independent Minds) by Dr John Etherington

    ‘Climate: the Great Delusion’ (Independent Minds) by Christian Geron

    ‘An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming’ by (Lord) Nigel Lawson

    And finally, the most recent ‘killer’ analysis from the prestigious, independent John Muir Trust

    Report and summary can be found at
    http://www.jmt.org/news.asp?s=2&nid=JMT-N10561

  • Comment number 25.

    An excellent programme - very fairly presented. Well done Jeremy Gibson for persisting over the years; it's worth an award

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    A truly gripping programme... Really enjoyable and you can feel the pain...

    R Jones - Don't forget to explain to your children in years to come that you have supported this destruction for £££. Wind turbines do not achieve anything substantial or reliable when it comes to electricity generation and require back-up for when the wind is not blowing at the right speed. You may laugh at those who can see through this scam, but there is no shame in protecting our beautiful landscape for our children. 'The Inconvient Truth', the claims of which you are pedalling, turned out to be very inconvenient when the court decided that several points weren't the truth after all... Long live the people who fight for their rights and we all have the right to enjoy our homes! Excellent documentary - I love it!!!
    P.S. Thank you to Mike Hulme for fighting for all our rights!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    OK, if this windfarm is not built then the whole of the countyside will die, and all crops will fail. In fact, without this windfarm, the country will collapse and we will all die of malnutrition.
    Well, this sounds pretty important.
    How about the government or RES offerring to buy up anyone's property within two miles of the turbines at the market price?
    Put Mike Hulme out of his seven years of misery, reimburse him and let him move on. Perhaps Rachel would like to buy his house, 800m downwind of 9 120m turbines? Probem solved. Planet saved.
    No? I guess that means that the claims that the peril we face is a load of b*****
    Prove me wrong RES, buy his house!!

  • Comment number 29.

    The real debt crisis is about what we owe to the environment. We have been borrowing for from future generations for too long. We can choose to act now and minimise the cost using the best available technology or we can wait until tomorrow when our children can fight wars over the remaining resources.

    We must avoid the tragedy of the commons and act together. This means working together and recognising that no solution is perfect but that no action is no option.

    Objecting to change is self defeating; change is happening whether we like it or not.

  • Comment number 30.

    I refer FutureGazer to the references provided in Comment number 24 above. Which parts of these references are flawed, and in what respect?

  • Comment number 31.

    Bystander1994 has cited a small selection of articles challenging the role of wind farming in tackling climate change.
    The fall into several groups;
    1 Risk to our ecomony of premtive unilateral action i.e. that climate change is not significant enough to warrant intervention. The Stern report provides a coherent opposing view.
    2 Wind is too intermittent to be of any use. We could not rely on wind for all of our power, but whatever power it does produce does usefully offset that produced by CO2 emitting power stations. The intermittency effect can be minimised by good engineering, greater grid interconnection, wind forecasting. Indeed the variation on the grid is mainly due to variation in demand. Perhaps we should ban kettles and minimise spinning reserve.
    3 The false efficiency analogy. Often the term capacity factor is used to indicate some kind of efficiency, or to claim we are not getting what we expected. The truth is that capacity factor is a design decision primarily and varies year on year depending on the actual wind seen. To say that a capacity factor of 30% means an efficiency of 30% is a bit like saying that a car with a top speed of 100 miles per hour is only 30% efficient because it's average speed is 30mph. The engineers decision to set the upper limit as a pragmatic one. We can easily increase capacity factors by increasing the size of the rotors but keeping the generators the same size. However, this does not necessarily give the best economics. We could do the same with car by setting its top speed at 30. Not many people would buy one then.
    4 The triviality argument. Since no one intervention, or farm, can solve the problem do nothing. The counter is to do more.
    5 The rise in global demand is too great. This is a defeatist argument and irresponsible. It also ignores the fact that countries like China, Australia and the USA are using wind power to meet their own energy needs.

  • Comment number 32.

    Readers of this blog now have enough input to decide between FutureGazer's analyses (comment 31 above) and those in comment 24. I am happy to rest my case.

  • Comment number 33.

    Lots to smile about this week;
    i)with Germanys commitment to proving truly green energy for the country with a nice 80 percent by 2050
    ii)with Devon also now being allowed to do a bit more after a 7 year battle, by providing truly green energy for 13,000 homes -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSSrZOyTrCo
    It's so refreshing to know there are forward thinking people out there helping to making a brighter future for everyone
    ... and no matter how hard some people try and twist the truth about the benefits of renewable energy (including directors!!) the out comes clearly speak for themselves!!!


    http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0517-hance_green_energy.html

    'Merkel, who had only last year decided to extend the lifetime of its nuclear reactors, has now decided to phase out all 17 nuclear plants and move not to coal or natural gas, but renewable energy. While nuclear is considered by some as 'renewable' or 'green' due to its lack of carbon emissions, it obviously has significant drawbacks, from instability to an intractable waste issue. But the point here is not so much that Germany is moving away from nuclear, as it is moving wholly towards truly green energy: wind, solar, tidal, biomass, geothermal, etc.

    In nine years it wants to double the share of renewable non-nuclear energy, reaching 35 percent of total energy consumption by 2020. Ten years later Germany hopes to half the country powered by renewables and over 80 percent by 2050. Even without nuclear energy, Germany is still committed to slicing carbon CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 40 percent in 2020 and more than 80 percent in 2050.'

  • Comment number 34.

    I don't know if anyone else has brought this up but:

    What I want to know about those who have the same view as the 'opposition' in this programme is - what else do you expect humanity to do in order to produce clean safe energy in order to tackle climate change? What would you rather have, a wind farm making a bit of noise which I'm sure a bit of double glazing would prevent the majority of it (look at some of the noise houses get that are near motorways and even main roads!) or would you rather have a nuclear power plant sitting on your doorstep giving out radiation all of the time with the potential (albeit low) of a nuclear accident occurring and making large portions of the UK uninhabitable like chernobyl??

    Seriously, we need to act on this sooner rather than later and people opposing excellent ideas like wind farming are part of the reason why we're still pumping millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year!

  • Comment number 35.

    I have just watched the last episode and missed the last few seconds of the programme so dont now what the final result. What i cant work out is why the only solution to the "green " argument is wind farms, We have all seen em sat in acres of countryside doing nothing cos it is not windy enough or its to windy. Seems a bit daft that bit.
    What i cant work out is companys like RES why they dont look in to other forms of energy generations. We are an Island so why not use the seas with Hydro electric generation. stick generators in the main rivers and use the currents that flow to generate power. it runs 24 hrs a day. Unlike the wind.
    I often drive past the RES offices buy the M25 and the number of times that i have seen the wind turbine there doing nothing but looking nice is amazing. its a waste of cash .
    As for that annoying woman Rachel Ruffles. I would love to see how green her house is for generating energy. does she have a wind turbine or solar panels , I doubt it. She did not seem to live in the area yet she was bringing her family in to brag at how good it all was. The only people that should be able to voice their views at a meeting about it should be the people that it effects.
    Hopefully sooner rather than later the government will decide to stop pushing these useless ideas on us and work on things that work all the time not in a small window

  • Comment number 36.

    Do the complainants against wind farms believe that their lights work by magic when they flick the switch? Do they believe that gas, coal or nuclear power stations are silent? Their mindset is "electricity generation is great so long as it does not inconvenience me." I wonder if they use trains, motorways, tap water, gas for heating or cooking, go on holiday by plane, buy mass produced goods or cars,..... It would be nice to think that they all ride around in horse drawn buggies and heat their homes with coppice willow but we know this is not the case.

    All these create noise and change the landscape. Dartmore only looks the way it is due to human use. Whilst wind is not a panacea it is part of a mixed source of energy.

  • Comment number 37.

    This programme clearly shows the uneven fight between those who have the equivalent of a guaranteed lottery win and those set to lose everything they have ever worked for.
    For those who have found their quality of life plummet, there is no help whatsoever. Communities wishes are constantly overuled whereas at Whitemoor Prison (2005) a single turbine was switched off till the impact on prisoners was mitigated.
    The noise experts are not health experts and other countries which have benefitted from their wisdom are not clear of severe problems for some wind farm neighbours. If you are not aware, just look at what has happened in New Zealand, Australia, America and particularly in (Ontario) Canada.
    People in the UK do not have the level of protection they may assume they have, because the "noise" experts who helped create ETSU-R-97, and contributed to the Salford Report have gone back to their "gravy train" of pro-wind exhibitions and Appeals. AM is only one of the negative experiences and doesn't explain severe ear-ache or changes in heart rate, just two of the many symptoms felt by some wind farm neighbours and by myself when I went to find out first-hand what it could mean for me.
    There is a clear "conflict of interest" with the Government Department charged with promoting renewables being the same one supposedly regulating wind farms; hence their choice of contracting the authors of ETSU-R-97 to check its implementation.
    The work put in by individuals like Mike Hulme contributes to the protection of families. This protection cannot be taken for granted with "targets" being regarded as more important than impact on host communities.
    Oh, I should mention I initially considered myself to be pro-wind but research changed my mind. An almost religious zeal to combat "Climate Change" what-ever the cost has led to much of the media ignoring what has been happening to affected communities particularly with the larger turbines. They've been swayed by the powerful lobbyists that have had free run in places of power. Its a shame that with so many affected right across the globe, money is being poored into subsidies to make a small group very wealthy, yet refused for research into why these effects are happening. The crusade has overtaken sanity!

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm fed up with people protesting against wind farms- will they stop forgetting that we NEED alternative energy supplys now. From Biomass Boilers to wind turbines we need to embrace it now not when all the fossil fuels run out- I'm not an expert or anything but surely thats right? I really enjoyed this programme just watched it on the iplayer - thanks more like this please

  • Comment number 39.

    One of many such emails since the broadcasts:

    Mike,

    I'm supporting you not because I have any particular opposition to windfarms, but because I was disgusted with the way RES behaved towards you. As a socialist, it saddens me to see large companies trying to maximise profits at the expense of local communities, even if they do try to wrap that profit motive in the language of environmental concern... I just wanted you to know that people from all sorts of background will have been impressed with how you fought the corporate and bureaucratic machines.

    Cheers.
    Jon

  • Comment number 40.

    Great program, blog and by and large great comments.

    The disturbing thing to me is how people and our precious environment can be so trampled in the name of a futile gesture (ie onshore wind farms) in the face of massive expansion of CO2 emissions elsewhere in the world.

    If wind energy delivers an small yet unreliable and hence ineffecient fraction of the UK's energy requirement the total of which in turn generates approx 2% of global CO2 emissions at huge financial cost, then the cost/benefit case is clearly not made.

    Only madmen would advocate it, or those with financial/political objectives to meet.

  • Comment number 41.

    Smooth talking Marcus Trinick, who, whilst part of BWEA, had a hand in writing the wind turbine noise limits in ETSU-R-97 so that they would favour wind farm developers, said "the noise assessment is professional and robust". Funny then that the noise assessment carried out by Dr Bullmore for RES just happened to contain a big error in favour of RES. No wonder Rachel Ruffle of RES didn't want to release the noise data to Mike Hulme. It took him and his experts no time at all to find the error.

    This sort of "error" is so typical of the modern world where the subsidies paid to developers by poor electricity consumers are so huge that errors and lies are part of common practice. See RenewableUK (BWEA in its new guise).

    It is the same in climate science, the biggest scientific scam error. Climate science has been found to be full of errors, which all happen to be in the direction of making for a scary climate change message. Climate scientists also try and keep their data and methods secret so that their errors aren't discovered by honest people.

    It's a sad state of affairs when these errors go unpunished. Did you see Rachel Ruffle or anyone from the wind industry apologise to poor Mike Hulme? Of course not.

    And the haranguing Mike Hulme got from Dale was disgusting - another ruthless and greedy wind farm developer.

  • Comment number 42.

    PAWB46, I've just rerun the section where Mike Hulme is harangued by a guy named as John Vincent in episode 4. Are Dale (presumably Dale Vince of Ecotricity) one and the same guy? Whoever it was, his opinions were/are truly disturbing.

    Incidentally, I'll never forget a TV interview Dale Vince gave a few years ago (was it Horizon or Panorama?) where, sat beneath one of his turbines, he spoke movingly about his concern and passion for the environment only for the interviewer to question his philosophy as the camera panned slowly to his sparkling new gas guzzling Range Rover. Much gasping and spluttering was the response as I recall! You gotta just love these guys!!

  • Comment number 43.

    SesReay @42

    You are right, he said he was John Vincent. He is the spitting image of Dale Vince and he seems to be of a similar character (so I hear).

  • Comment number 44.

    I declare an interest. I am a long term friend of Mike and Basia and have, to some financial extent, supported them in their quest for the truth. I also have installed a pica hydro scheme at home so do put my money where my mouth is.

    I can refute Rachel's claim in programme 2 that Mike may well be supported by the organised anti-wind farm lobby. This is patently not the case, and Mike and Basia have effectively given up their day job for seven years, only made possible by the support of friends, neighbours and others who want to support "the little man" against the big bucks of big business. Long may they reign. The debate is a healthier one thanks to Mike and Mr. Gibson.
    My view is that our money (subsidies) is being given to large corporations, so we are entitled to have full knowledge of how, and why it is spent. Keep going !

    Hydropower 85% efficient, wind power 27% efficient. Yet the subsidy 19.4 pence for hydro. 34 pence for wind turbine. For identical electricity generated.
    Can you work it out who is being favoured here?

    I have never "blogged" before, and probably never will again, so that's how strongly I feel about it !

  • Comment number 45.

    Bogbrush48, keep on blogging. It's clear that we are all at risk from the type of fascism that was on full view here. The state says wind farms are good and so we will have them. The only concession is a sham of an enquiry.

    I'm all for proper solutions to real problems and am all for the precautionary view in case of global warming even tho the issue is not yet fully understood (cloud effect for one).

    How do we, the many, progress this debate? We need protection from John Vince!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Just to expand a little on the films’ ending:

    Whilst on the face of it my Appeal was dismissed, i.e. the Judges determined that the Planning Inspector had not erred in law, the wider outcome was pretty much a total success, save only for the costs Barbara and I have necessarily endured over the years.

    Despite the judges accepting [judgement para. 31] “There is no doubt, as indeed all counsel agree, that condition 21 is not easy to interpret. The meaning of the last sentence...is particularly opaque.” And despite rejecting RES’ submissions [para. 33] and acknowledging that: “The enforcement mechanism does not operate through the scheme adopted under condition 21” I have been ordered to pay the Secretary of State’s costs.

    Thank you RES for not claiming your costs from me: though I doubt, given the judges’ overruling of much of your evidence, that they would, in fact, have been awarded.

    Clearly, the situation is rather complicated and not helped by RES claiming ‘success’ simply because their planning permission has not been quashed. As it happened, that was not my primary intention even though the development is, in my and many others view, clearly inappropriately designed.

    In this manner RES, sadly, and as we have now come to expect, are yet again avoiding the real concerns and issues addressed by my Appeal case.

    Nevertheless, RES now have to meet the unprecedented and significant reduction to the noise limit parameters in the event of Amplitude Modulation (AM) noise pollution from the wind farm.

    Why, one might ask, have RES consistently resisted this when they’ve claimed for the past 7 years that there won’t be a noise nuisance?

    In coming to their judgement the Court of Appeal has not only set in stone the parameters of the Den Brook AM noise condition but also closed off any further opportunities for RES (they have tried) to redefine those parameters. That was exactly what I set out to achieve.

    Hopefully, others will also now be able to make use of, and benefit from, this stand-alone AM noise condition precedent for their own cases.

    Many thanks to ‘Bogbrush48’ and the many alike for their unstinting support throughout this admirably BBC2 depicted Wind Farm War.

    This is most certainly not the end of the story. We now need to remain vigilant and prepared more than ever before! Please do help us by contributing whatever you can.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 47.

    Thank you Mike nad Barbara. I confirm your statement that this was a very badly designed scheme. In fact I would say that the proposal for the Den Brook wind farm couldn't have been more badly designed. The turbines are too close together and in the wrong locations. The design was chosen purely to maximise RES' profits and with no consideration given to the wider implications of the bad design.

  • Comment number 48.

    Test: I keep trying to post something here, but it never gets through.

  • Comment number 49.

    Mike H you are an inspiration! A totally inadequate contribution has winged it's way thru the ether!

    I hope the program prompts the government reviews the overall energy strategy they inherited and redirect investment into real solutions such as energy saving for sure (ref: satellite images of the globe at night?), nuclear as a tactical move, hydro-electric (but please don't completely devastate the Severn Estuary - a small to medium scale solution will do thank you), solar, wave power etc.

    Not sure if this is in plan? Anybody?? I'm not holding my breath!!

    But back to Wind. Quite apart from the actual CO2 saving (or lack of it) from wind energy (ref the spinning reserve for when high pressure descends over the UK esp in winter), the thing about noise is not decibels! I have bees in the roof space above my bedroom. The gentle humming drives us mad at night. I won't have them removed them because I can and do simply move bedrooms. I can't imagine being stuck with turbines thrashing away all night without respite. Surely hell on earth. If your listening David and Nick please help.

    As for Vincent Dale shame on you. Can we arrange to have Lady Gaga beamed into his house at night??!!

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't know if there's some kind of filter blocking my message, so I'll try sending it in 3 parts:-

    (1) The final episode was a PR disaster for RES. There's something horribly lacking in people who think it's acceptable to destroy people's quality of life and to devalue their property without compensating them. It isn't just wind farms where the law fails to protect people from this kind of thing, but everyone should be aware that there is a revolution just around the corner: artificial intelligence and computational morality. All laws will be rewritten from scratch, based entirely on a morality formula and backdated all the way. Wherever someone has been trampled over and whenever it is still possible to redress things, the wrongdoer will have to pay for all the harm they've done and the people who have suffered will be compensated. In the lab, machines are now beginning reach the point where they can hold rational conversations with people (I work directly in this field), so this revolution will be upon us within a few years.

  • Comment number 51.

    (2) If there is going to be a noise problem for people living near a wind farm, those people affected by it should be compensated in direct proportion to the amount of disturbance - their property should not be devalued. I don't think visual impact is hugely important to property prices in the case of wind farms because they'll all be gone in thirty years anyway when nuclear fusion reactors make them redundant, but in the meantime something has to be done about the noise problem which is a major issue for people who live within a mile or so of the turbines. A simple solution would be to monitor noise levels in an open manner so that it is absolutely clear to everyone how much disturbance there is, and if the problem is rare (as RES claims) it should cost them very little to do this. Of course, even if it is rare it could be extremely detrimental to health if it wipes out a night's sleep, so RES should also have to pay for double/tripple glazing to be installed on any properties affected, as well as any air conditioning required to keep the house cool - closed windows with triple glazing may be able to keep out the racket, but your life's still ruined if you are boiled all night instead. We're only talking about a handful of people who live close to the wind farm, so where's the big difficulty in doing the right thing by them? The people whose land the turbines are going on don't care about the racket because they're being compensated handsomely - they're clearly being overpaid, so there could easily be a reallocation of money such that other people who live nearby are adequately compensated without any additional cost to the developers.

  • Comment number 52.

    (3) Finally, RES needs to pay Mike a further amount to compensate him for his loss of income and his other costs while fighting to make their wind farm development treat him fairly. If they don't do this, they're only going to pay a higher price for it later on. There will be no room for immorality in the future world once all the monkeys have been driven out of power, so it's important to start doing the right thing now.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm not connected to the Den Brook Valley campaign but www.denbrookvalley.co.uk is the place to go to find what the moderator has removed from Mike H's post 46 above.

    David, that's topical given "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace"?

    At risk of deviating slightly from your and the blog's main points and to widen the debate. In my 60 years (ie no time at all) on this planet the world population has grown from 2.4 billion to 6.8 billion and is projected to grow to 9.85 billion by 2050. By far and away the bulk of the growth will be in the developing world who will undoubtedly, and rightly in my view, aspire to match or exceed the "weapons of mass consumption" (me included) in the developed world.

    Man made global warming is surely a by-product of population growth and consequent consumption combined with our headlong pursuit of economic growth. It would thus appear to be the root cause of (all) our problems.

    Does this technological revolution you talk about address the real issues and radically change our way ahead or is it another "sticking plaster" on a hopeless situation?

  • Comment number 54.

    RES really shot them self’s in the foot. If only they were more open with mike in the beginning...

    As for wind farms, it is not as simple as saying they are good or bad or even they reduce carbon emissions . We all should be pro-wind were it is right and anti-wind were it is not.

    The core problem with wind turbines is quite simple. The wind does not blow all the time. Electricity can’t be store efficiently or in great enough amounts once it’s been generated to offset it.

    The irony with wind power is the more you add to the grid the less carbon each wind mill off sets. Reason being you have to add more and more inefficient quick firing fossil fuel power stations to pick of the slack when...the wind does not blow.

    There may even come point were adding more wind power increases carbon emissions.

    Some say these problems are easily solved with "wind forecasting" and "smart grids"

    But smart grids are easy to say and harder to do. No one have ever really done the nitty gritty of how it would work. wind forecasting is not going to do us much good if it tell us they is going to be no wind or little for weeks... or even worse too much and we have to pay the likes of RES to not make power:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-13253876

    I am not anti-wind but it needs better research and better planning. Company’s like RES are not doing it for environment they are going it for a profit. In the end we all pay a high price for unreliable and costly power. If reducing co2 is the goal, we should do it in the most efferent way possible

    Another argument I hear is... if not wind then what? Nuclear, build them now, build them fast. Even with every nuclear accident in history add together it is still vastly safer then fossil fuels have and will ever be.

    and before someone goes"yeh but I bet you would not want to live near one" I live 4 miles away from an advance gas cooler rector. nuclear energy is what keeps the sun in the sky going and what helps keep the core of the earth hot.

    Every argument anti-nuclear has a reliable answer to it...even the waste

  • Comment number 55.

    (1) In answer to your question, SesReay, I can only use my own intelligence at the moment to try to predict what artificial intelligence is likely to come up with in the way of solutions to the world's problems, so it'll be a few years yet before we see if I'm right. I'm going to have to post this one paragraph at a time - it seems that a bad Net connection keeps timing it out before a longer post can get through. Five more...

  • Comment number 56.

    (2) A.I. certainly won't be racist or nationalistic, so it will want to see a sharing of all the world's resources across the entire population without any regard to the territories in which those resources are found. The size of the world's population will therefore dictate the amount of resources available to each person, so it is clearly in everyone's interest to halt population growth as quickly as possible. The obvious way to do that is to set up an IHS (international health service) so that people no longer feel the need to have so many children (removing all the fear that many of them will die from common diseases) and to give them the means to ensure that they can stop after two or three.

  • Comment number 57.

    (3) Dogmatic religions are clearly going to continue to be a barrier to progress, but they will take a heavy hit when people have access to machines that can instantly point out all the contradictions and demonstrate that a moral formula based on minimising harm is always superior to any set of moral rules taken from a religion - when taken literally, religious rules invariably end up deciding that everyone should be stoned to death for something for other, even if it's only for wearing clothes made of more than one kind of fibre. If the more fanatical people in society can be removed from positions of political power, we might be able to stop wasting trillions of pounds on wars and weapons and put it into more useful things like setting up an IHS.

  • Comment number 58.

    (4) Clearly there is a link between population and global warming, but it isn't impossible to imagine that we could reduce emissions substantially without destroying our quality of life, so I don't think we're in a hopeless situation, though there's a fifty year lag in the system (heating up the sea) and we've just wasted the last twenty years because of people like Bjorn Lomborg - how he thinks that encouraging the rest of the world to start driving gas-guzzlers is beyond me. You can transport a person around at 15mph at 10,000mpg (this has been done), so there's no reason why lightweight vehicles designed to move individual people around cities at 30mph at 1000mpg on lightweight roads which enable inexpensive flyovers at all junctions and thereby delay-free journeys - that's what China and India should have been building to try to get ahead of the game, but instead they've copied our failed model of development and just dug themselves into a deeper hole.

  • Comment number 59.

    (5) But the biggest mistake that governments have made is to believe that jobs are of crucial importance, resulting in them trying to create as many as they can. This means that about half the workforce are now engaged in completely unnecessary work which simply shouldn't be done. Many people drive tens of miles every day in gas-guzzling cars just to fill paper with useless data that gets stored for a few years before being thrown out without ever being used. Supporting these bureaucrats is an army of road builders, car makers, oil refineries, etc., their workload being amplified by the needs of the army of people doing pointless work and by the need to support their own extra industry - the whole system amplifies itself with a feedback loop. We need to unpick the whole thing and to get rid of all the directly unnecessary jobs plus all the indirectly unnecessary jobs which support them.

  • Comment number 60.

    (6) People often ask why the promised revolution in which machines liberate us from toil has never come about, but the answer is simply that we're addicted to the idea of work and go out of our way to create work where it isn't needed. We do this because we don't want to be unemployed, and we don't want to be unemployed because we don't want to be poor. And yet, if the work's unnecessary, it isn't actually doing anything productive, so the same money is sitting there in the system to provide the people put out of work with exactly the same standard of living as they had before. It's obviously going to be difficult to organise a transition to that happy state of affairs without the risk of going through a lengthy stage where they are worse off while we unpick the system and set up its replacement. The whole thing is so complex that we will need A.I. to organise it - no government would be brave enough to attempt to do it on human brainpower alone as they would inevitably make too many mistakes and make themselves so unpopular that they'd rapidly be replaced with a government set on taking things back in the wrong direction.

  • Comment number 61.

    Well done Mike for all your efforts. You have helped many people in the same situation across the UK. Unfortunately RES are not the only developers who behave like this - most do from what I have learnt. I bet they wish they had never agreed to this filming - it has stunningly backfired for them. If only wind power was worth it but you only have to look at the Renewable Energy Foundation website where you can see what individual wind farms actually produce - far less than the developers tell the planners. The John Muir Trust also recently published a report into the inefficiency of wind farms. Developers should be made to take the turbines down if they don't perform as they say or create more noise or shadow flicker than they said they would? It seems they get planning on some well massaged expectations of performance. I hope RES are worried about building the wind farm now this has been filmed. People will be watching what happens and they will be held to account. What a PR disaster for them! They should hang their heads in shame and leave the valley as it is.

  • Comment number 62.

    I've just read this:-

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-battery-electric-vehicles-jolt.html

    There are many stories of this kind which show that solutions to many of our problems are on the way. The danger is that we won't take sufficient action in time to avoid catestrophic climate change, and every story that speaks of a solution has the unfortunate side-effect of making people think the problem's going to be solved and they don't need to take any action. Every time you build a wind farm you give more phychological room for people to think they can burn more coal and oil as a result. Wind farms simply aren't going to solve our problems - the sensible way forward is to focus full square on energy conservation and then to look to nuclear to fill any gaps that the more benign renewables can't cope with.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hi David, fascinating posts. One or two paradigm shifts required there I think. I just checked out the "Machine of Loving Grace" blog site

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/05
    /all_watched_over_by_machines_o.html

    I wonder if that would be a more appropriate place for a continued discussion? Many parallels with the three episodes of that program. Perhaps the forthcoming revolution will fare better next time round. It sounds to me as tho there is a great deal of merit in the concepts but is it fantasy growing out of general disillusion with politics which appears to be leading us - well where?

  • Comment number 64.

    David @ 62, many thanks for pointing out these emerging technologies, the sum of which will surely make a difference given proper investment.

    Our current strategy, as Bogbrush48 @ 44 points out pays 34p in the pound to the likes of RES and Ecotricity for a technology (wind) that is 27% efficient and relies on spinning backup that negates any CO2 savings, is costing billions at at time of financial fragility, skews the planning and appeals process in the wind lobby's favour, destroys lives in the process, scars the environment in the process.

    Yesterday we learnt that Scottish Power is raising prices by 19%, the first of many price rises no doubt. We're all in this together!!!!!!!!!!!

    I seem to recall we got very exercised by MPs fiddling their expenses, are we not being similiarly ripped off here?

    I'm excited by AI but for now should we not be creating just a little bit of a fuss to get this farcical situation turned around? What to do? How about a letter campaign to MPs and newspapers to get this raised up the coalition priority list. FaceBook and Twitter, I'm not an expert but I'm told it lay at the heart of the Arab Spring!!

    Come on Britain wake up!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry SesReay, but I can't afford to get tied up in an extended discussion about A.I. What I've already said will have to suffice - if people think my analysis and predictions sound reasonable they can easily calculate all the likely ramifications without any further input from me. All I wanted to do was give people a hint of what is on the way, because the future of law everywhere will be pure, applied morality. The little people all matter and absolutely no one has any moral right to trample over them. Mike has impressed me enormously because he's managed to remain one of the most impartial people involved in this whole thing, despite being the worst affected. I don't know how he manages to be so polite to people who repeatedly say one thing and do the opposite. It looks to me as if most wind farms are actually subsidy farms, and that's why it doesn't matter to them whether they ever manage to make enough power to cancel out the pollution put out during their manufacture and installation. I can't afford to get tied up in campaigning either - people don't listen and don't want to listen, so my time will be best spent on creating something that will force them to listen, and program code doesn't write itself (yet).

  • Comment number 66.

    Great posts notabene1 and bystander1944. Totally agree about the Shakespearean characters! Well done Mike for your perseverance. Res treated you despicably. You came across as a decent, honest human being; Rachel didn't (notwithstanding the fact her eyes remained cold and hard when her face muscles were pulling a smile.)

    I agree that Res now have an obligation to financially compensate Mike for his loss of earnings and personal financial input into fighting for what is morally right and to be provided with information which was continually witheld from him. To compensate Mike and to publicise that fact would go some way to redressing Res's now disastrous public image and if I were head of their PR team that's the first thing I'd do. They certainly need to do something...

    And congratulations Jeremy on a superb series which had me riveted all the way through and completely changed my opinions on wind farms. If I see you at Sheffield Doc/Fest this week I'll congratulate you in person.

    Finally thankyou David Cooper (blimee it's like an Oscar acceptance speech this) for a fascinating few posts about AI. I'm with you 100% on everything you say; makes perfect sense to me. And you have summed up this entire debate with your comment:

    "It looks to me as if most wind farms are actually subsidy farms, and that's why it doesn't matter to them whether they ever manage to make enough power to cancel out the pollution put out during their manufacture and installation." Nice one.

  • Comment number 67.

    Hi David, no problem. Thanks again for some fascinating insights. I hope it works out, it would appear to be badly needed and maybe this time round it will work (see machines of loving grace) - out of necessity.

    I too have overdone the blogging so will stop now!

    Best Regards, Ses

  • Comment number 68.

    To be fair, this particular wind farm may be one of the more sensible ones in that it has a better chance of saving more pollution than it causes. The ones that do the real damage are the offshore ones (using masses of concrete to hold them in place) and the ones put in peat bogs where they can cause CO2 to be released in large amounts if they impact badly on the drainage - those developments are all about collecting subsidies, as no doubt were most of the German ones where they put them up in places with insufficient wind. I don't know what the figures are in the Den Brook case, but then I don't suppose RES have released their wind speed data because it'll be an "industrial secret".

  • Comment number 69.

    David, you've tempted me out of retirement!

    I have to disagree with your last comment. If we're talking CO2 saving, Den Brook and in fact all UK wind farms put together will make not the slightest difference to the overall global situation. If there is any percentage benefit at all it will be any number between 1 and 9 to the right of the decimal point with with many many zeros between them (my math isn't up to it!). Yet the cost in financial (and "spiritual" terms) is massive and is diverting added investment away from real solutions such as the sort of technologies you have drawn attention to.

    Landscapes such as the Den Brook Vally matter in the same way that so called "little" people matter. To me it's as absurd an idea to destroy Den Brook Valley as it would be for the national gallery to burn works of art to heat the building for a day or two!!

  • Comment number 70.

    SesReay - when I said this particular wind farm "may be one of the more sensible ones in that it has a better chance of saving more pollution than it causes", I wasn't saying it was part of a real solution to anything, but simply that it may generate enough power to avoid doing more harm than good purely in terms of CO2 emissions. Clearly it would actually be far better to put all our efforts into energy conservation instead, and that's where all the subsidies should be going because the reduction in CO2 emissions there would dwarf anything wind power can do. What's the point in covering the countryside in turbines to generate energy to heat buildings that aren't properly insulated? If you insulate a house properly you can heat it with a candle.

  • Comment number 71.

    Thanks for your clarification David, I am in full agreement with you now!!

    BTW, I had a very positive response from my MP who assures me this government is bringing forward a review of the funding mechanism to ensure subsidies will not make it attractive to put wind farms in unsuitable locations and give more powers to local councils to decide for themselves how they should be developed.

    At last some common sense may be about to prevail.

    I wonder if Scottish Power might take note given their apparent inducement to reduce prices the more power their customers consume!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Good point, SesReay - the price should really go up for people who use excessive amounts of power, making them pay more than the cost of removing the CO2 from the atmosphere.

    By the way, if anyone thinks my involvement in this discussion has a NIMBY aspect to it, I live near Aberdeen and far enough from any possible wind farm site not to need to worry about being affected by them. I'm not opposed to wind turbines if they make a genuine contribution to protecting the planet, just so long as they don't damage people's quality of life if they live nearby (unless sufficient compensation is paid to make it up to them). There's one case near here of disturbance through vibration rather than noise, presumably because of the underlying geology. In any such case (whether noise or vibration) it should be possible to measure this and to require appropriate compensation to be paid whenever it happens. Not to compensate people in such situations is simply theft and cannot be allowed to happen in any civilised society.

  • Comment number 73.

    A bit late, owing to computer issues that also caused me to miss episodes 3 and 4, though I learned about the outcome from other sources. I wish the BBC would keep such informative and gripping programmes on iPlayer a lot longer - this was one of the best programmes I've watched for a long time - Mr Gibson, can you do anything, please? And thank you Mr Gibson, for sticking to it - you've given everyone an insight into the difficulties of those trying to oppose wind farms (some larger than Den Brook) face, particularly when most of those advising Governments, including Scotland, have interests in wind!! Credibility?

    Mike H, I am so sad for you and your wife that the outcome was as it is. You have fought an heroic fight and this programme should be compulsory viewing for the British public to show that the ordinary person can stand up and speak for their cause.

    One thing - global warming has become climate change - the planet has always undergone periods of warming and cooling - we should get back to the original argument of man-made global warming and stop fudging!

    R.Jones and others - you seem to be under the impression that turbines just get plonked and nothing else happens. You would be well advised to look up Derry Brien (Eire) and you will see just what happens when a wind farm is put in - vast pits excavated to be filled with concrete to form the base for the towers; quarries that the wind industry think sound nicer if they're called "borrow-pits" to form the vast number of access roads which in turn can cause problems with watercourses, not of course to mention cutting down all those trees in many of our forests (trees absorbing carbon) to make room for them - and how about the carbon cost of extracting, transporting and processing all those rare earth minerals from China to make an essential component?

    Jobs - well, take a trip up the A9 from Rosyth into Perthshire and follow the loaders with turbine towers made by a non-UK company as is happening right now! Vast sums of public money have been spent on a Scottish wind turbine/tower manufacturer and they bring the fabricated parts in from abroad? Sense?

    I have absolutely no objection to anyone wishing to take personal action to reduce their energy costs but not at the expense of others, some of whom may not have the right location - including a conservation area and orientation of the property plus other planning regulations. If anyone wants to do it - pay for it and no feed-in tariffs. If major wind farms are so efficient as the

  • Comment number 74.

    It is outrageous that the final episode of the 'unmissable' Windfarm Wars was removed from iPlayer on 10 June. We returned from holiday yesterday (11th) to find that 'Freeview' scheduler had failed to record it (it worked for first three episodes) and that it had been removed from iPlayer. Is there any way of obtaining a copy of episode 4? Or better still, a set of all four on DVD to give to the members of local authority planning committees (yes, I am totally serious).

  • Comment number 75.

    How very odd, how many Mbytes of disk space would these programmes occupy on iPlayer?

    A cynical view might be that the politics of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) this time relating to Global Warming are now being seen through and so we need to curtail the debate.

    Adam Curtis revealed this phenomenon in The Power of Nightmares a few years ago http://thoughtmaybe.com/video/the-power-of-nightmares. Are we still being lied to?

    Certainly the precautionary principle has merit where Global Warming is concerned but it is still causing stupid actions (such as billions poured into the least effective solutions) to be taken. It is to be remebered that the precautionary principle demands action without fully formed evidence.

    If you pump CO2 into the atmosphere it will warm it - no doubt. But the myriad of natural responses to it are not fully understood. So why not concentrate for now on actions that really will address the needs of carbon reduction and energy security without sacrificing our natural heritage.

  • Comment number 76.

    BBC, please reinstate the iPlayer recordings of Wind Farm Wars or re-broadcast the series. Many, along with ‘bystander1944’ appear to have not only missed the final episode but would also wish to view again.

    Bash and I have been inundated (pleasantly on the whole) with phone calls, emails and letters as the programmes were aired. Our website: www.denbrookvalley.co.uk has been accessed more than 12,000 times during the period. It’s very gratifying that our efforts have touched so many and, more importantly, the series has clearly been an education, maybe even for RES.

    I met with RES’ latest Den Brook project manager a couple of days ago and asked for categorical reassurance that the now robust noise condition would be complied with and not tampered in any way: a possibility exists for RES to seek what’s known as a ‘Section 73 Variance’. “I don’t know, I don’t know” was the response when pressed.

    It seems that the story may be set to continue in any event!

  • Comment number 77.

    "Section 73 Variance" - would that be the technique of wind farm operators switching off their turbines last month and getting paid £2,600,000.00p for doing do? As reported by the Sunday Times yesterday.

    Included in that were Scottish Power (allegedly!) who, while hiking their energy prices by 19%, picked up £720,000.00p last month from the national grid for leaving their turbines idle.

    Something doesn't quite add up! but maybe the National Grid hate wind power for the disruption they caused to their operation. That chimes with e.ON who have a very different view of wind power in Germany because there, apart from generating electricity, they have an obligation to run the grid also! (Google their annual wind reports!!

    Can I have my money back please??

  • Comment number 78.

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for all your comments on Windfarm Wars - it's been really interesting to read the debate around the programme unfold on here.

    Mike H, bystander1944, and others have asked about the availability of Windfarm Wars in the iPlayer. Generally programmes tend to be available in iPlayer for seven days - there's more information about this at the iPlayer's FAQ Page, which should hopefully answer your questions as to why it's no longer available.

    Thanks,

    Gary
    Assistant Content Producer, BBC TV blog

  • Comment number 79.

    Hi Gary, if not iPlayer what about a repeat or some other means of continuing the debate, such as it is, the pro-wind lobby are remarkably quiet on this blog!

    There are serious issues raised by this programme and while this government may bring forward a review of the funding mechanism for wind farms, the visibility of the whole issue needs to be raised in my view.

    What about raising the issue on Question Time or a topic for The Big Questions? I'd love to see Lord Lawson (An Appeal to Reason A Cool Look at Global Warming) arguing the toss with Dale Vince, whose Nympsfield turbine was barely moving yesterday!

  • Comment number 80.

    The fourth episode was compelling viewing and thoroughly deserves a repeat. Perhaps the BBC should compress the first three episodes into a single hour and then show that followed by episode 4 again as a two-part series. I'm sure a lot of people didn't bother to watch any of the programmes because the thought of watching four hours of it was simply too much for them, and the first three episodes were also rather slow, as admitted in the Radio Times reviews. There was no review of the fourth part, so it probably lost a lot of potential viewers as a result - they would likely have assumed that it was duller than the previous ones, whereas in reality it was must-see TV.

  • Comment number 81.

    Many congratulations, Mr. Gibson; the most compelling TV I've seen in many a year and I saw my first bit in about 1948.

    Everybody should know what we're doing without, in paying vast sums for inconsequential renewables, apart from the £1 billion we pay every year in hidden subsidies on our energy bills.

    Have a look at this: http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Cost_of_Generating_Electricity.pdf

    You should note that nuclear is neck-and-neck with CCGT and if you add a carbon tax or fuel price increase, nuclear is ahead on its own. Onshore wind is money down the drain and offshore wind even moreso.

    I Blog on "LFTRs to Power the Planet" at: http://lftrsuk.blogspot.com/

    LFTRs are hundreds of times safer than LWRs and post-Fukushima, the sad, historical side-tracking of a thorium-fuelled, thermal, breeder reactor, which could have nullified the worst 40 years of planetary pollution and endangerment, needs telling - in spades.

    It's a tale of powerful politicians and military generals controlling $billions of cold-war funds, in league with scientists with agendas, not having the foresight to switch from reactors which answered the military's problems to the right reactor for civil power production.

    Alvin Weinberg, the doyen of Molten Salt Reactor design, operation and experimentation, invented and patented LWRs, of which the Fukushima reactors were the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) version. He railed against the use of LWRs for civil purposes, fearing loss-of-coolant/meltdown accidents (Fukushima-style). We, in the thorium-proponent camp know that LFTRs are very capable of coming through such natural disasters, because of their inherent safety characteristics - they are walk-away-safe.

    Humanity will owe a debt of gratitude to the first documentary maker who gets this story onto front-line TV.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    May be Britain is waking up to the scam that is wind power. May be it will be exposed as bigger than the MPs expenses scandal. It's certainly costing us a whole lot more.

    The House of Lords debated it on 10th June 2011. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110610-0001.htm#11061043000429

    What is really disturbing is energy companies are supplying propaganda to our children in schools. BBC Breakfast touched on this on 11th June reporting that teacher's unions were expressing concern about how companies were involved in schools. Climate change and energy companies were mentioned. Parents should be outraged.

    Check out

    http://www.alienergy.org.uk/education.html
    Primary school children linking arms around a turbine



    http://www.scottishpowerrenewables.com/pages/education_pack.asp
    Education packs for secondary schools



    http://www.hi-energy.org.uk/Education/Primary-School-Factsheets.htm

    Check Greenhouse gas fact sheet - Fox's glacier mint illustration!

  • Comment number 84.

    Two brilliant blogs Lyndsey & Lftrsuk!

    I liked the suggestion to Chris Huhne about exercising consumer choice. It seems impossible to do. How can I select electron flows from non-wind sources only!! And yet I must be able to have some choice in the matter.

    I really hope the debate gets pushed up to the mainstream and we stop falling for the fantasy of "saving the planet" or more realistically mankind, that deludes so many. If the threat was real we'd be coming up with something a bit better than wind mills. Look back to 1939 for evidence of that!!

    Right - I'm definitely shutting up now and leaving it to you clever guys. I'll be watching the debate.

  • Comment number 85.

    But one last thing I am most definitely not Lord Reay (of the Lords Parlimentary debate referenced above)!

  • Comment number 86.

    Nothing much has been made of the appalling number of bird deaths caused by wind farms. Since a wind farm has become operational over the hills from us we no longer see the 4 or 5 Red Kites we used to. One bird was reported as killed soon after the farm opened - but then it did have a transmittor on it - so hard to cover the death up. See www.raptorpolitics.org.uk. Also www.wind-watch.org is an excellent site for reports on wind farms all over the world.

    See http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/06/16/bats-birds-and-blades-wind-turbines-and-biodiversity/

    So not only is wind power not delivering what the developers promise, it is polluting our environment, costing us billions, killing our wildlife, contributing to fuel poverty by hiking up our energy bills to pay for this madness, etc etc etc

    Wind power is wrong on so many levels.

    Anyway who thinks this is a clean, green energy should research what is happening in China where the Neodymium is sourced from to use in the turbines. The mining and production is polluting in the extreme and local people are suffering huge health issues and their farmland is turned into a toxic wasteland as the pollution leaks into the surrounding soil. The rush for wind is driving this industry with over 2 tonnes of Neodymium used in each turbine. This is not emotive nonsense this is actually happening - but while there are vast amounts of money to be made nobody cares enough to stop it.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi SesReay (#79),

    If you (and others) are interested in continuing the Windfarm Wars debate, there is a related discussion thread on the Points Of View message board.

    I've checked with the programme and scheduling teams and they say there are no immediate plans to repeat the series just yet.

    About Question Time - all the questions are suggested by the studio audience when they arrive for the recording. There's more information on the Question Time website.

    Thanks,

    Gary
    Assistant Content Producer, BBC TV blog

  • Comment number 88.

    I saw the damage limitation videos made by RES and made comments which were fair and accurate and factual - They were removed within 24 hours - says an awful lot about them.The series was really fair- all the characters displayed their true natures and did the damage for themselves . No prizes for the characters which fared the worse! Well done res a true portrayal of your business's character- the filmaker was entirely fair but res shot themselves in the foot!

  • Comment number 89.

    Hi Gary @87

    Many thanks for the links to points of view and questiontime.

    Unfortunately the POV discussion is closed.

    Question Time would be a great place to continue the debate but there is a catch. While the studio audience set the agenda it appears that the only topics on offer are the issues of the day or week (in order to give the panel a chance to get clued up or to get influential people on board).

    You'd think "saving the planet" might feature highly more frequently. What could possibly be more important? But sadly the only way it will become highly topical will be at the next attempt to get global agreement on the way ahead. It is therefore not going to feature any time soon.

    In the meantime RES and their likes will be taking comfort in the fact that the brief and limited stirring of interest that one off programs like Windfarm Wars generates quickly dies down. As you can see on these pages.

    I thank the G for Mike Hulme, Jeremy Gibson, Adam Curtis (I'm not just talking Wind Farm Wars here) and all others who are trying desperately to draw attention to this outrageous state of affairs.

  • Comment number 90.

    Thanks for all the postings, and for all the (mostly) appreciative comments. I’ve really been impressed by the exchange of ideas and opinions, and a lot of you have posted some good links to help spread information and ideas – from both sides of what is, as predicted, a deeply divided debate. In response to SesReay (89) I ought perhaps to remind you that I didn’t set out to expose or draw attention to any particular state of affairs. I was following a process, tracking whatever unfolded. Due to the way the story evolved, the BBC had to allow me to do that over a considerable period of time, something that is all too rare in documentaries now, and something that I think offers a more profound view.

    It’s a really interesting thing to watch what happens next. Will RES be able to go ahead and build and operate their hard-fought-for windfarm with Mike Hulme’s equally hard-fought-for AM noise planning condition in place or will they, as he seems to fear (76), seek some sort of variance to it? And what about the Planning Inspector’s recommendation that a review of the industry noise guidelines ETSU-R-97 is overdue? To anyone who sat through the confusion of the second Den Brook Public Inquiry, a truly independent and objective review of the guidelines would seem to be an obvious need.

  • Comment number 91.

    Apologises Jeremy, I realise you are completely impartial but many thanks to you and the BBC for exposing what we may all find ourselves up against when big business and government decide what is good for us!

  • Comment number 92.

    Hi SesReay (#89),

    I've checked with the Points Of View team and the Windfarm Wars thread is still open to discuss the programme.

    If you're having trouble posting, there's a FAQ for BBC messageboards that should answer most questions.

    Thanks,

    Gary
    Assistant Content Producer, BBC TV blog

  • Comment number 93.

    Firstly, many thanks to Jeremy Gibson for this excellent series – several people clearly dug holes for themselves, or indeed exposed their true natures, but that wasn’t Mr. Gibson’s fault.

    Having said that, Mr. Gibson’s comment (90) does not reflect sufficiently strongly an apparent Government cover-up of a recommendation to amend current noise codes to increase protection against ‘beating noise’ (i.e. amplitude modulation).

    Having rapidly educated myself on the dreaded ETSU-R-97 noise code I was a legal ‘Rule 6’ party to the public inquiry into the proposed Glyndebourne turbine in 2008, I argued the noise case. It was ‘Déjà vu all over again’! - The applicants were represented by Mr. Marcus Trinnick (who appeared for RES in the Den Brook inquiries). Glyndebourne’s specialist witness on noise was Dr. McKenzie of the Hayes-McKenzie partnership (who appeared in the second Den Brook inquiry).

    I argued that there was credible evidence from the respected Dutch researcher, Dr. Van den Berg, of problems relating to ‘beating noise’ (amplitude modulation) and that an allowance should be incorporated for this effect.

    Dr. McKenzie of the Hayes-McKenzie partnership rejected my points under cross-examination. The chair of the inquiry (Mr. Pikett, who chaired the second Den Brook public inquiry) did not accept my arguments.

    Subsequently, on 13 December 2009, a Sunday Times article: ‘Officials cover up wind farm noise report’, explained that in 1996 the Hayes-McKenzie partnership had produced a report for government that recommended a very large reduction in permissible noise levels. Crucially it recommended a further reduction in relation to ‘beating noise’ (amplitude modulation):

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6954565.ece

    The Sunday Times states: “It has now emerged that officials removed the warnings from the draft report in 2006 by Hayes McKenzie Partnership (HMP), the consultants. The final version made no mention of them.”

    It took FOI requests by Mike Hulme plus an Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) decision to extract this information.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hi Gary, yes the POV blog is open. I must have looked at a time when it was closed perhaps. The last post on there was several days ago so will stick with this blog for the time being esp. when you get posts like Tony Parker's above!

    Where are the pro wind lobby on this blog? Do they shy away from defending the indefensable?

    BTW I noted a piece about solar on countryfile on Sunday (what a sad act I am) where the government minister explained the decision to review the funding mechanism there (my MP was obviously not joking when he drew attention to that. Good on him and the coalition!). He was setup to respond to the heavy slant toward the case for solar (in my opinion) which suggested we ought to follow Germany and cover our countryside in solar farms!!

    All very interesting but its just a distraction. Why can't we have a proper mainstream debate between experts who put the case for the best solutions to what I and I'm sure others are prepared to believe could be a real problem???

    Wind and solar relatively very low in "energy intensity" (compared to fossil and nuclear for example) and so would require carpetting the country with installations to achieve a fraction of the demand. Do we really want that?

  • Comment number 95.

    If I was to go out into my street every night and hammer something for hours, I expect it wouldn't take very long before the police and courts got involved. I don't think they'd take seriously any defence of mine that the average noise level of my hammering was utterly insignificant and that they shouldn't be judging things on the momentary peaks of 100 decibels. Clearly the true loudness of the hammering is the peak volume, and the duration of the noise from the point of those disturbed by it is clearly going to be from the first significant peak to the last. Exactly the same should apply to any noise which varies in amplitude. Isn't that obvious? I don't know how things are going in the current legal arguments, but if a judge doesn't agree with this, someone should try doing the hammer thing outside his house to put his beliefs to the test.

  • Comment number 96.

    "Isn't that obvious? "

    David, it is to me!!

    However, I won't be volunteering to try it on the judge (appealing tho that might be). I think I can guess the likely outcome!

    Bring on AI I say, the quicker the better!!!

  • Comment number 97.


    If you want to 'carry on blogging' go to http://alansloman.blogspot.com/2011/06/highland-wind-farms.html or windfarmactopn.wordpress.com

    If you have time go back through the older posts. A very sad tale indeed is told - mainly from hill walkers. And the powers that be tell us it won't affect tourism. When will their heads come out of the sand?

    This recent report says the energy companies are now saying we need back up power because wind isn't reliable! The penny has dropped but guess who has to pay for the back up AND the wind energy that can't be relied on? Us as usual.

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-2008055/Energy-giants-want-billions-windfarms.html


    Do you think there is a chance the government might think they have got it wrong at last?

    There is to be an investigation into noise problems in Australia see

    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/06/23/blow-for-wind-farms-as-senators-push-probe-into-noise-and-health-fears/

 

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