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National Trust boss says wind turbines 'can be beautiful'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 26, 2013

wind turbine
Comments (18)

The new head of the National Trust has described wind turbines as "beautiful", despite fierce criticism of the technology from guardians of the countryside.

Dame Helen Ghosh, 57, who succeeded Dame Fiona Reynolds as director-general of the National Trust in November, said: "Personally, I think a wind turbine in the right place is a rather beautiful thing. I think they can look graceful, and this goes back to thinking in centuries.

"If you think back to what the railways looked like to the 19th century mind, or indeed the 18th century when the canals were coming through, I think we have to have our minds open to how the wind turbine will appear to us in 100 years."

The former permanent secretary at the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made the comments in an interview with The Sunday Times in which she also said that the organisation will examine proposed turbines on a case-by-case basis, only objecting when they impact upon the historic landscape.

She said: "The National Trust, as an organisation, takes the view that in the right place – and because of the importance of renewable energy – we don't object to them.

She added: "Wind turbines in the right place are fine. We object to wind turbines where they are a blot on our historic landscape."

More than 100 wind turbines cover the rural Westcountry, with many more pending. The region has been targeted by developers, despite criticism over their visual impact.

Dame Ghosh acknowledged that her views did not tally with those of the National Trust's chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins – an outspoken critic of wind turbines.

She said: "Simon has a fundamental, personal, aesthetic objection to wind turbines."

Dame Ghosh was appointed permanent secretary at Defra in 2005, where she helped forge pro-wind policy until her appointment as permanent secretary at the Home Office in January 2011.

As director-general of the National Trust, Dame Ghosh oversees a staff of 5,000 and a volunteer staff of 65,000.

Around 19 million visits were made to National Trust lands and properties last year.

The UK's biggest onshore wind farm will be in North Devon, and is expected to be up and running shortly. The massive Fullabrook wind farm between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe consists of 22 giant turbines.

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  • sandman18  |  March 10 2013, 8:51PM

    Does this sound familiar ! "Pyramid schemes are based on simple mathematics: many losers pay a few winners". The more they put up the more people have to pay for them in their electricty bills until no one can afford electrcity it then all collapses....

    Rate   -1
  • Jim_Hunt  |  March 01 2013, 2:21PM

    Whether we use wind, solar, geothermal, thorium or plutonium, we really ought to be doing a lot more than we are, and quickly. As we speak the Arctic Ice Cap is cracking apart at the seams: http://tinyurl.com/icegone

    Rate   2
  • johndavies  |  February 26 2013, 10:39PM

    Cottage Farm Organics says "Word fail me!" Well so does logic Your quote "the fossil fuel catastrophic contribution to climate chaos and global warming leading eventually to 50m rise in sea levels," is amusing but mistaken. Yes the climate is warming (we are still coming out of the last ice age) but it fluctuates due to complex solar cycles in conjunction with even more complex planetary movements. In a few hundred yrs we may have the same climate the Romans enjoyed in Britain. In the last ice age the ice on Britain was several kM thick, given that there was NO industrial fossil fuel catastrophic contribution, what do you think melted it & cause a 300m rise in sea levels ??? 2 word answer: clue its big, round, hot, shiny & the Egyptians worshiped it. A foundation course in geology will tell you all you need to know about climate change, not the ravings of a failed USA politician (although he has made a fortune from the scam). Man is a transient animal but like many species too specialized to survive a 20million yr hot – cold earth cycle. It is the meek who will inherit the earth, Microbes & Bacteria, not us. As a plants person you should know that CO2 is a plant food & the main 'greenhouse gas' is water vapor. How do you think a machine that only works 27% of the time will change the climate ?? Most damningly of all, they hardly reduce CO2 emissions. They might even increase emissions. Why ? – because if you need gas turbines anyway, it would be more efficient to run them continuously. (Think of a car following a cyclist, who keeps stopping and starting, and often needs to be carried.) As I write this, on a cold frosty night the UKs entire 4,415 wind turbine fleet is producing…just … 2.1% of demand !!! See - This site gives UK Grid status - demand & generation by fuels.….. now + Day, Wk, Mth, Yr, history. ( * Caution *, scales are all different so don't compare at first glance !! Look at the figures !! ) http://tinyurl.com/6ja8btf To see how wind is doing see – Map of European Wind outputs Live. nb capacity in MW but output in kW - [It's a manual refresh] http://tinyurl.com/c5b35rn For how much the SwindLE scam is costing us - look at the OFGEM figs here - http://tinyurl.com/akxs7yp (Have smelling salts handy.)

    Rate   5
  • sandman18  |  February 26 2013, 7:12PM

    Cottage Farm Organics , you need to get a life !! Climate is changing it has always changed it has been very cold it has been very hot and it will keep on changing nothing you or I do will have any major effect on the planet. We could be hit anytime by a very big asteroid and I am sure the global warmist nutters will blame mankind for that as well. Wind Turbines and Solar are not the answer we need to tap geothermal energy and more nuclear plants based on the molten salt reactor system that can use waste nuclear fuel and use up the thousand of tons of spent fuel sitting all over the world. Wind Turbines are making peoples lives a misery all over the world from noise and infrasound pollution see this link below and then look at the other items on this website about the problems they are causing. https://http://tinyurl.com/b5aprdx

    Rate   5
  • Free2opine  |  February 26 2013, 7:05PM

    Cottage Farms......Deep sea methane gas using existing gas platforms. The USA are trialling it as are India. It is the most prolific energy source in the world.

    Rate   3
  • MattScratch  |  February 26 2013, 6:59PM

    I must be one of the only people who doesn't mind wind turbines. Ok, I lived within 100 meters of 3 of them while living in Wales for 6 months. Did I hear them, well yes, ONCE for an evening. The football match on the tellybox easily drowned that out though! Did they ruin my view of Snowdonia? Nope, not one bit. I mean c'mon, it's not like the planners want to just stick one outside your front door. Yea, they may break down and catch fire but what will really be the damage? A bit of scorced earth underneath? A bit of hedgerow squashed under the weight of the turbines? Could be worse hey, imagine if a nuclear power station was to break down or catch fire. Of course there is the old arguement of what to do with the turbine when there is no wind or little wind, you're left with a structure essentially doing nothing. For me opinion on this please see the vast dormant nuclear sites at Calder Hall, Chapelcross, Berkeley, Bradwell, Hunterston A, Hinkley A, Trawsfynydd, Dungeness A, Sizewell A, Oldbury....and counting. I'm not actually against alternatives to wind turbines such as nuclear power. It boils down to we NEED other methods of getting energy, we import like 94% of our power. This can't be a great thing, regardless of climate change. But, if people are really against wind turbines because of how they look the are seriously a lot lot worse options out there if physical value is all we're going on here.

    Rate   -5
  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  February 26 2013, 6:46PM

    Dear Free2opine 'Wind turbines stop when there is no wind therefore producing no energy' - yes, which is why they need to be combined with PV arrays ans energy storage facilities. 'Wind turbines catch fire and fall to pieces when the wind blows too much thus producing no energy' So do cars, much more regularly, but we still use them because most of the time they work just fine (except of course that cars cause global warming whereas wind turbines help to prevent that disaster. 'Wind turbines need back-up 24/7 because of the the peaks and dips in the need for electricity' - Not so, but they need to be combined with PV arrays that work broadly when wind turbines don't and vice versa, plus energy storage facilities. And the alternative is ... I know, why don't we burn all the fossil fuels we find, cause a runaway global warming, 50m sea level rise, loss of most agricultural land and most cities and a generational genocide. That's far better, lets go with that! Maybe you should think about the consequences of your arguments

    Rate   -6
  • mrcrashhappy  |  February 26 2013, 4:37PM

    Laughable politicking. I'll believe Dame Helen Ghosh's sincerity when she has one installed in her garden, or even within fifty miles.

    Rate   7
  • Charlespk  |  February 26 2013, 2:58PM

    Calling a Wind Turbine 'beautiful' is sophistry in the extreme. . A Wind Turbine is not a 'Wind Mill'. . They are inefficient, noisy eyesores that are despoiling the environment wherever and whenever they are built. Even John Constable would have been hard pushed to portray a Wind Farm as beautiful. http://tinyurl.com/bfpxl6d

    Rate   -1
  • Free2opine  |  February 26 2013, 2:33PM

    Windmills don't fall over. Wind turbines stop when there is no wind therefore producing no energy. Wind turbines catch fire and fall to pieces when the wind blows too much thus producing no energy. Wind turbines need back-up 24/7 because of the the peaks and dips in the need for electricity.

    Rate   12