A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wind power

At last night's Homerton Neighbourhood Forum we heard a really interesting presentation from the Olympic Delivery Authority about the physical legacy that will be created by having the Olympics on Hackney's doorstep.

The one bit that I didn't like is the plan to have a 120 metre high wind turbine permanently towering over the Lea Valley marshes.

I don't mind wind turbines out at sea - in fact the ones in the Thames Estuary north of Herne Bay look quite good - but on land I'm concerned that the environmental benefits of the green energy production are balanced out by the environmental despoilation of having an ugly eyesore towering over the landscape.

What do people think?


Anonymous Andy said...

I don't think wind turbines are that bad once you get used to them. There are quite a few dotted about in the dales when I go walking up there. Obviously its not as nature intended, but where is these days? I certainly wouldn't categorise them as 'ugly' and there are far worse eyesores in Hackney.

Can I also be the first to make a facetious comment about the fact that it would be ininitely preferable to have a small nuclear power station instead of a wind turbine?

11:05 am, November 23, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

One of my greener Labour colleagues was heard to mutter "'e wants a nuclear power station on Hackney Marshes" when I raised this last night, so you are behind the curve ... I'm fairly sure marshy river valleys in major urban conurbations aren't the best sites for them.

11:08 am, November 23, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Along the southern Spanish coast, east of Gibraltar, there is a whole string of large, land-based wind turbines to catch the on- and off- shore breezes. Apparently, there was a lot of opposition when they were built (this was some time ago - they were there when I started going past in 2000) but people from the area don't notice them any more. They sound obtrusive, and do change the landscape and certainly give the impression of great human presence.

This, however, isn't so much of an issue in London (although it is still an issue). I do think, though, that even if there were a slight negative impact from its appearance, it would be more than counterbalanced by the carbon saved over the turbine's lifetime and the impetus it may give to other projects.

120m is particularly large; given, though, that the Lea Valley is going to be rather more used after the Olympics, the turbine may become some sort of focal point for the marshes. Then again, maybe not. Equally, it may become a landmark people look out for, like the BT Tower, London Eye, Crystal Palace Transmitter and so on.

Are there any important sightlines in the area?
I may be wrong on this, but I think that rivers tend to generate wind currents due to being a corridor along which air can travel and the different heat retention properties of water.

1:44 pm, November 23, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you will be campaigning to have every electricity overhead cable in the Lea Valley re-routed underground, each pylon dismantled and the costs passed on to consumers then?

Peter Kenyon

5:10 pm, November 23, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


Some of that is already happening according to the presentation last night - they are already digging the tunnel to underground the current overhead cables so they can remove the pylons.

They didn't say who was paying!

5:24 pm, November 23, 2006

Anonymous observer said...

We are paying to have the pylons removed - only to have them replaced with unsightly wind turbines? Sounds like someone's making a fast buck (and fools) out of local tax payers. Doncha think?

11:02 am, November 25, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every community should be forced to have their power generation within 12 miles, that way we would all be happy to have big wind turbines, CHP, Solar, Heat coils into the earth etc. Just like the need to relink meat to the animals it comes from, we should do the same for power. If residents really dont want eco friendly wind turbines then they can have the coal delivered to their new huge powerstation instead.

3:24 pm, November 25, 2006

Anonymous Alan Davidson said...

"Every community should be forced to have their power generation within 12 miles." Sounds more like we should all return to village life with subsistence farming, sack-cloth, woad and wattle & daub.

"Just like the need to relink meat to the animals it comes from, we should do the same for power." Knowing where meat comes from doesn't stop you eating it. Ditto the consumption of power.

And "eco friendly wind turbines"? The RSPB cites that evidence from the US and Spain confirms that wind farms can cause severe problems for birds, through disturbance, habitat loss/damage or collision with turbines. And that doesn't include the assault on an area's æsthetic qualities.

Sticking up a solitary turbine smacks of tokenism and intrusion. In all, I find this drift to eco-fascism worrying.

11:13 am, November 26, 2006

Blogger Welsh Spin said...

I think turbines look quite mellow personally ...

Sure a few birds that fly around at night may get clobbered, but less than fly into jet engines daily.

8:23 pm, November 26, 2006


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