At a time when governments and organisations are striving to make commitments to cut carbon emissions, the source of the UK’s energy is a bone of contention for many. Discussions about nuclear, new generations of coal fired power stations and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are discussed almost daily, and the arguments about wind power are certainly high up on the agenda.
Despite being a technology that is used successfully by a number of other countries around the world to meet power needs, and the installation of new wind turbines and wind farms across the UK being a flagship policy for green energy companies such as Ecotricity and Good Energy, wind energy certainly has its enemies as well as its advocates. Across the UK, more than 200 anti-wind action groups exist, 30 of which have joined together to create the National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups (NAWAG), headed up by chairman of corporate communications and public affairs at PR group Weber Shandwick, Jon McLeod.
McLeod took up the role of chairman of the super group following the proposal for a new wind farm development at Matlock Moor in Derbyshire, near his home, however he maintains that it is purely a personal interest in opposing wind farm developments and that the PR firm will not be involved in NAWAG’s campaigning activities.
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) responded to NAWAG’s accusations that wind farms are detrimental to the look of the British countryside, can be damaging to tourism jobs and don’t reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, saying,
“We are happy to engage in a debate on the merits of wind energy. We believe that it is good for the environment, jobs and prices. However, that debate must be based on facts, not myths, half truths and distortions. This is wind week and thousands of people will be visiting wind farms to educate themselves about the truth about wind energy. Perhaps when everyone involved knows the facts then we will be able to have a sensible discussion.”