16 March 2010

The silent majority

Over the last 15 years there has been a massive expansion in electricity generation from onshore wind turbines. There have been several projects in Lancashire, and I have noticed a trend. When the public consultations open, the loudest voice comes from a relatively small group of objectors; some of whom have legitimate complaints about shadow flicker or reduced house value etc...

Given the presentation of 'public opinion' in the local media, I would expect that a large proportion of the people I speak to about the subject would bite my head off when I voice my support, but I don't! I hardly ever hear any objections. Is it because the 'type' of people I know are more likely to support windfarms? I'm sure that's part of it, but I'm convinced that there's a silent majority out there, who, by remaining silent, are helping to perpetuate a skewed rendering of public opinion in the press. I genuinely think that were we to hold a referendum for each project (with compulsory participation), wind energy projects would find a vast amount of support they never knew existed!

So why all the fuss from a LankyAnglican? Well my employer has submitted a planning application for the construction of 2 wind turbines which would provide 1/3 of the University's electricity requirements. The impact on local residents is relatively limited, given the site is adjacent to the M6 motorway and the massive university campus, and all the appropriate impact studies have suggested that the proposed site is a good one. Public opinion, however, seems to be going against the application. So here's my plea: if you're a member of the silent majority, please break your silence, and do so quickly! Local residents' voices will count for more, but please also add your comments from afar!

Lancaster City Council Planning Portal
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