Turbines in Northumberland turn views into 'Golgotha', Viscount Ridley warns

Wind turbines have left parts of Northumberland looking more like Golgotha, a North East peer has warned

Wind turbines near Kielder
Wind turbines near Kielder

Wind turbines have left parts of Northumberland looking more like Golgotha, a North East peer has warned.

Viscount Ridley has led an attack on inefficient and damaging turbines which, he said, have destroyed the county’s “sensational views” and while killing thousands of animals.

The peer hit out at a system which sees turbines put up across the country but fail to meet the UK’s energy needs.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Blagdon estate owner said: “Already many of the most beautiful parts of this country have been scarred.

“In my native Northumberland my view of Simonside is now affected by wind farms, as are the Cheviots and the Wannies.

“Above all, the sensational view of the Northumberland skyline from Lindisfarne has been turned into a Golgotha.”

Golgotha is the hill where, according to the Gospels, Jesus was crucified.

Lord Ridley’s attack on wind turbines follows another by the Bishop of Newcastle, who last month said there “it is a basic Christian truth that we all have a duty and a responsibility to care for and exercise wise stewardship over God’s creation, which has been entrusted to us.”

Viscount Ridley, who helped establish Newcastle’s Centre for Life, said the wind farm spread was responsible for the large-scale death of wildlife across the UK.

He said: “There is a feeling that wind seems to be exempt from the normal rules.

“If I were to erect a structure 140 metres high, doubling the height above sea level of the hills alongside the valley of the Stinchar in Ayrshire, for example, there would rightly be an outcry. If I were to kill hundreds of birds of prey every year, there would be outrage. If I were to kill thousands of bats, I would go to jail.

“How can it be that the wind industry uniquely is allowed to ride roughshod over the environmental rules that protect the rest of us from anyone spoiling the view, killing eagles, decimating bats, and pouring concrete into peatland?

“The wind industry has proved uniquely insensitive when it comes to looking after the countryside.”

Viscount Ridley
Viscount Ridley
 

Vicount Ridley added: “It seems to me that there is insufficient protection at the moment for the most treasured landscapes of this country from the blight of wind farms.”

The impact of wind turbines in rural areas is set to return in the coming months as Defra prepares to produce a report looking at the impact on tourism.

Already the Conservatives have indicated a desire to take a strong line on turbines, a move prevented by the Liberal Democrats’ strong commitment to renewable energy.

Last month Conservative part chairman Grant Shapps used a visit to Northumberland to say that he believed there needs to be “a more enlightened approach” to turbines.

He added: “I think wind turbines are a big concern for local people, I heard some of that expressed in Northumberland, and I think now there is a change of views taking place.

“Yes we need to meet our energy needs, and ensure that we do that in a way that keeps energy prices down.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer