Why wind holds key to our future

Jonathan Lincoln
Jonathan Lincoln

Wind farms. You either love them or hate them - and most people seem to have their feet firmly in the latter camp.

On paper, the benefits are obvious.

The price of traditional fuels is rocketing. Reserves of gas and oil are running out. Mining fossil fuels is contributing to global warming. We’re killing our planet.

Nuclear energy is expensive and dangerous.

The answer, it seems, is staring us straight in the face...wind.

According to the latest opinion polls, more than 70 per cent of people in the United Kingdom are in favour of wind power.

However, it’s not clear how many people would be happy with a wind farm - or even a single turbine - stuck at the bottom of their garden, or perched on top of the nearest hill.

Jonathan Lincoln, who lives in Horncastle, is one of the leading figures in a campaign to convince everyone that wind power is the answer to our future energy prayers.

It’s a tough task. Only last week, planners at West Lindsey District Council rejected an application for 10 turbines at Hemswell Cliff.

Mr Lincoln is not about to give up without a fight. He has been involved in some of the world’s biggest environmental campaigns.

For the last nine years, he has focussed on wind-power and is currently the co-ordinator of Sustainable Energy Alliance (SEA).

He knows one of the biggest battles is convincing people who don’t want turbines spoiling the local landscape - whether it’s the Wolds or the Lincolnshire coast.

Mr Lincoln said: “The nimbies are a small but vocal minority.

“They gave the impression they speak for everyone but they don’t.

“They are well funded and well organised but rely on misinformation to gain support.

“They talk about turbines being a blot on the landscape - and the damage they would cause to tourism in areas like the Wolds.

“But that is completely fictitious. They use alarmist and selective arguments, designed to scare people.”

Mr Lincoln points out that power stations are an even bigger blot on the landscape - and global warming.

He dismisses claims turbines are noisy. “What about noisy neighbours,” he adds, “or barking dogs?

“They talk about the impact living close to turbines can have on house prices. There is not one shred of evidence to support that.

“If we’re talking about an impact on house prices - and the environment - then what about the developments being planned in Horncastle?

“Almost 1,000 new homes. New homes, new roads, new factories. They will all have a huge impact on the town’s infrastructure and our way of life.”

While Hemswell Cliff was a setback, Mr Lincoln has enjoyed many successes. He helped spearhead a campaign which led to a new wind farm off the West Wales coast. It will generate enough power for 400,000 homes.

Off-shore wind farms do attract less opposition than on-shore developments - for obvious reasons.

However, the cost of getting power from sea to land is expensive. Mr Lincoln favours a ‘mix’ of on and off shore developments.

He explains: “People seem to have this vision of Horncastle being ringed by turbines.

“That is simply not true. A dozen turbines would probably generate enough power to supply every house in Horncastle.”

He points out green energy would lead to green jobs - and thousands of them.

He adds: “We can’t sit back and do nothing. We owe it to our children - and future generations - to take action.”