Saturday, October 09, 2004

The seeds of tyranny

In July last, Christopher Booker ran a story in his Sunday Telegraph notebook on the the plan by Npower, a subsidiary of the German energy giant RWE, to erect 27 giant wind turbines covering 1,000 acres of Romney Marsh.

Each turbine would be 370 ft tall, nearly the height of Centre Point (385 ft), with concrete foundations sunk 110 ft into the earth. Six and a half miles of new roads would be built across the marshland, requiring 50,000 tons of roadstone, completely transforming a much admired landscape.

The plan was originally rejected by Kent County Council (KCC) on aesthetic grounds, but such is this government’s obsession with covering the countryside with these monstrosities that it has changed the planning rules for windfarms above 50 megawatts, allowing the Department of Trade and Industry to override normal planning procedures.

Justifying its actions, in its recent Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 22, the government says that Britain's need for a huge expansion of windpower to comply with EU renewable energy targets must now become an overriding factor in planning decisions.

And so it has come to pass that the DTI has been holding its own public inquiry throughout this month, a procedure that will allow its own inspector to decide whether the wind farm can be built, regardless of the views of residents or local councils.

Such an affront to the democratic process might, one would think, attract protests from far and wide, and so it has. Even the Conservative Party managed to complain about it. But not that great democrat, Green MEP, Dr Caroline Lucas.

According to a pro-wind factory website yesterday, our girl has called for planning permission to be granted, stating that the potential impact of climate change should far outweigh aesthetic landscaping concerns.

Claiming to be a Eurosceptic, Lucas is in fact clearly at one with the EU she professes to dislike in laying the seeds for a new tyranny. No wonder they call the Greens "water melons" – green on the outside but red inside.

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