For once, we don’t want to top the league

IN 2007, Tony Blair signed the UK up to the European Union Renewable Energy target to increase the use of renewables from 1.3 per cent to 15 per cent.

This target has made a big impact on local government throughout the UK and they are now under pressure to meet the criteria for 2020.

Renewable energy is all a buzz at the moment, it’s a popular form of energy, in fact my family embrace renewable energy and my home is powered from the ground for its central heating and the sun/natural light provides us with hot water and electricity.

My parents looked at the wind option and were told it was not as efficient as the other two and would cost double.

Last week, Bill Short, Business Analyst for DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change), published statistics which showed that Northumberland will be the most populated county with approved windfarms – in fact it is already top of the windfarm leaderboard.

Do we want to be top of the league tables on this occasion? I am proud to be a Northumbrian, I love the community spirit and we have some of the most beautiful landscape in the country with rolling hills and breathtaking coastlines. We are the real jewel of the North.

We are also the least-populated county in the UK, maybe the Government feels that it will receive fewer objections when applications to build windfarms are put forward?

My family is in the process of fighting a windfarm application and I am witnessing first-hand the devastation that follows in its wake. My family and I live in a small hamlet located between Fenrother and Fieldhead and the application has caused upset in our small community.

There is some evidence that windfarms bring health risks to the area in which they are built. While developers will claim there are no risks living within half a mile of a turbine, new evidence from a report written by Dr Chris Hanning and commissioned by the Northumberland and Newcastle Society states that there are severe risks to residents living less than 1.5km away. That means my family and my community are at risk.

Most people in today’s society want a green environment for us all to enjoy but how can these turbines be ‘green’ when they are being placed in areas of outstanding beauty and national parks? If you look at the road infrastructure that they have to build to accommodate the construction and installation of these windfarms then there must be an impact on the environment?

However, what most people are not aware of is the turbines need to be powered by electricity to ensure the blades run at a steady rate. This is hardly an apt way forward where the component making electricity depends on electricity itself.

Therefore, should we not be looking at other greener options i.e. PV solar panels for each house? This would produce enough electricity for each household.

The Government has recently taken away the subsidies on this.

Solar panels were proving very popular and would be a more efficient and less intrusive form of green energy than windfarms.

The decisions that are made today are a legacy for me, our children and our grandchildren, a legacy we will have to deal with.

Surely health and communities and preserving our landscape should be high on their priority list, NOT meeting the government windfarm target for 2020 which we, as a county, have already well exceeded.

WILLIAM SHOTTON, Year 10