Linda Holt, spokeswoman for Scotland Against Spin commented on the story about RES pioneers wind farm compensation scheme for homeowners* as referred to in today’s UK Government announcement on more community benefit for local communities
The local energy discount scheme being flaunted by Renewable Energy Systems is another sop to those who don’t want their lives blighted by living beside a wind farm. It misses the point. Bribes do nothing to ameliorate the harm done by putting industrial developments too close to too many people; at best they may temporarily pacify some opposition.
If these bribes are no more than beads for the natives, they will only fan local mistrust. Beside the huge profits made by wind developers and energy companies £100 a year off rocketing electricity bills is pathetic. Since bills are rocketing partly because of increasing wind energy subsidies, this means the lucky few eligible for such schemes are only getting their own money back anyway. What about compensating the rest of us who are also forced to endure and fund these industrial developments? Discount schemes have the potential to create vast resentment among those who are excluded from them.
But they are also increasing anger among those most affected by windfarm developments – property owners whose homes have lost value and become difficult or impossible to sell because of their proximity to turbines. An annual electricity discount of £100 hardly makes up for the tens of thousands of pounds sliced of the value of someone’s homes by nearby turbines. Nor does it add to the attraction of a property where turbine noise and shadow flicker make the inhabitants ill.
A subsidy merry-go-round is no solution to the problem of siting wind farms. Wind energy needs subsidies because it is uneconomic and communities need bribing because it is environmentally harmful and they don’t believe in it. The solution is a rational economic energy policy which the public can have faith in.
Linda Holt (Press Officer)
T: 01333 720 378 or 07590 994 690