Wind Industry ‘Support’ Fades: No Place For Subsidised Wind Power, Anywhere, Ever

The line about everyone just “loving” wind farms is all down to spin from wind industry propaganda merchants based on Mickey Mouse “surveys” that claim that every last one of your compatriots is itching to spear thousands of things right into your backyard (not theirs, of course).

Nothing generates more hatred and bitter community division than a wind farm.

So how is it that Renewable UK was able to generate a result purportedly in favour of massively subsidised wind turbines that mirrors the level of support shown by ‘voters’ for the Supreme Leaders of places like Iran and Kazakhstan?

As we’ve pointed out before, though, the answer you get depends very much on the question you ask (see our post here).

Here’s a couple of pieces to similar effect.

The truth behind the polls that show support for windfarms
The Conservative Woman
Graham Long
26 July 2021

As Benjamin Disraeli said, ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’

RenewableUK, the voice of the wind and solar power industry, and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are keen to demonstrate that there is overwhelming public support for the development of onshore and offshore windfarms, despite increasingly vocal protests from host communities and from environmentalists concerned for the damage caused to peat lands, birds and other wildlife.

So how can Renewable UK justify announcements like this, from a press release in May: ‘Support for building onshore wind farms remains overwhelmingly high at 70 per cent – with levels of support exactly the same among people who live within five miles of a windfarm as those living elsewhere’?

The answer is in the use of statistics and framing the questions to give the pollsters the answers they want, or by asking the opinions of  only a select group of the public. It seems very likely that Renewable UK and BEIS seek to obscure the views of those forced to accept industrial wind turbines as their near neighbours.

There are roughly 10,961 onshore wind turbines in the UK with 8,366 or 76 per cent of them in Scotland. An additional further 1,722 turbines are going through the planning process in Scotland. Many are up to 260m tall (about 850ft), a height previously considered suitable only for offshore locations.

Since 2013, when most turbines were under 150m (about 500ft), the Scottish Government has recognised that there are adverse environmental impacts of windfarms on communities, and recommends a minimum separation distance of 2km (about a mile and a quarter). If the adverse impacts of wind turbines are recognised to affect rural host communities rather than urban communities, it would seem sensible to weight the respondents in a poll of opinions regarding onshore windfarms in favour of rural residents. And if three-quarters of turbines in the UK are in Scotland, wouldn’t it be it logical that three-quarters of respondents to a poll on wind turbines should be from Scotland?

The latest RenewableUK poll conducted by YouGov claimed to show ‘overwhelming support’ of 70 per cent for onshore windfarms, but the questions did not define either how many turbines comprise a windfarm or how high the turbines would be. There would obviously be a big difference in the acceptability of a 20m turbine and a 260m turbine at the bottom of your garden. Of the 1,700 respondents to the poll, only 7 per cent (119) were from Scotland. That is 0.002 per cent of the Scottish population. Of those 119, only 38 (32 per cent) replied that they lived within five miles of a windfarm. That is 0.0007 per cent of the Scottish population. Choosing so few respondents from the UK area with the most onshore turbines in a poll seeking to determine public opinion on the issue makes the results inherently unreliable.

In contrast, there were 192 respondents from London. Why ask Londoners their opinion of living within five miles of an onshore turbine when there are none anywhere near? They can have no idea of the adverse impacts of noise, disruption to water supplies, overwhelming visual intrusion and impacts on property prices caused by living near a large windfarm.

Even the paltry 38 Scottish rural respondents were not within 2 km, but 8 km (5 miles) of a windfarm. This distance is likely to include rural residents who receive ‘community benefit’ from the windfarm developer, but are too far away to suffer any direct adverse impact. The survey should have focused on rural residents within 2 to 3 km of a windfarm.

RenewableUK has interpreted results from a statistically skewed section of the UK public to show that there is ‘overwhelming’ support for onshore windfarms. As the mouthpiece of the renewable industry, it might be expected that any poll would be biased in favour of commercial concerns. It is more worrying that results from this and similarly unreliable and biased polls are widely quoted by mainstream media such as the BBC and used by the Government to inform and underpin policy, justifying the push for further expansion of windfarms in the name of reducing carbon emissions, regardless of impacts on hapless rural residents and environmental damage.

The most recent BEIS poll of public attitudes in March 2021 is equally flawed. Of the 267 respondents from Scotland (6.6 per cent of the sample) only 47 were rural respondents who are most likely to know what it is like to live next to a windfarm of industrial proportions. The results suggested that 83 per cent of the Scottish populace are in support of renewables providing our electricity, but even the BEIS had the grace to acknowledge that the numbers were too small to be statistically significant. (Personal communication with Scotland Against Spin).

It’s high time that we had a proper survey of public opinion in Scotland, where three-quarters of all UK on shore turbines are located and where planning permission is granted by Scottish Ministers against the will of local people for some of the tallest onshore turbines in the world. It’s time that the people of rural Scotland are not just regarded as collateral damage by both the Scottish and UK Governments.
The Conservative Woman

Caithness councillor accuses renewable energy body of ‘lazy, arrogant’ claims over public support for onshore wind
John O’Groat Journal and Caithness Courier
Alan Hendry
29 July 2021

A Caithness councillor has accused a renewable energy trade body of making “lazy, complacent and arrogant” claims over the level of public approval for wind turbines.

Councillor Matthew Reiss said the assertion by RenewableUK that 70 per cent of people support building onshore wind farms “is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

He said national organisations should avoid making “sweeping generalisations” and acknowledge opposition from communities close to wind farm sites – highlighting the Limekiln project at Reay as an example.

Councillor Reiss, who represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness on Highland Council, was speaking after the campaign group Scotland Against Spin challenged London-based RenewableUK over its latest survey.

Writing this week on The Conservative Woman website, Scotland Against Spin chairman Graham Lang called the trade body’s findings “unreliable and biased”.

Councillor Reiss agreed, saying: “Having read the article, it’s quite clear that the claim that 70 per cent of people are in favour of renewables is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

“I’m acutely aware that hundreds of local people have objected to some onshore wind farms in Caithness. I suspect a lot more than 70 per cent of people agree that the environment is a very important issue but also I am 100 per cent certain that a very large number of people in this ward have a general feeling that Caithness is doing a huge amount in terms of producing renewable energy and has a proud history of producing energy in different forms.

“It has struck me for a number of years now that government and other large organisations very seldom even acknowledge the fact that there is a significant body of local people who object to particular projects.

“I think Caithness people understand that tourism is a huge resource for the county. Lots of people come here because of the unspoilt natural environment, and that produces jobs which produce prosperity and, ultimately, reverse population decline.

“This assertion [about 70 per cent support] is a rather lazy, complacent and slightly arrogant statement with an abject failure to acknowledge that there are local circumstances where the position is very different.

“If you take for example the Limekiln wind farm development at Reay, I was always struck that the hundreds of people who objected simply wanted to look after their own natural environment and they put a far higher price on protecting that environment than on the community benefit that was being offered.

“People frequently say to me that the drive for more and larger onshore wind farms close to communities is not driven by environmental concerns but is very plainly driven by the pound sign.”

Councillor Reiss added: “RenewableUK should acknowledge that the picture is much more complicated than making these sweeping generalisations and frankly there is a need for a bit of balance – there are two sides to this debate.”

In his article, Mr Lang states: “RenewableUK, the voice of the wind and solar power industry, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [BEIS] are keen to demonstrate that there is overwhelming public support for the development of onshore and offshore wind farms, despite increasingly vocal protests from host communities and from environmentalists concerned for the damage caused to peatlands, birds and other wildlife.

“So how can RenewableUK justify announcements like this, from a press release in May: ‘Support for building onshore wind farms remains overwhelmingly high at 70 per cent – with levels of support exactly the same among people who live within five miles of a wind farm as those living elsewhere’?

“The answer is in the use of statistics and framing the questions to give the pollsters the answers they want, or by asking the opinions of only a select group of the public. It seems very likely that RenewableUK and BEIS seek to obscure the views of those forced to accept industrial wind turbines as their near neighbours.”

Mr Lang notes that there are 10,961 onshore wind turbines in the UK, with 8366 or 76 per cent of them in Scotland. A further 1722 turbines are going through the planning process in Scotland, he says. “Many are up to 260m tall (about 850ft), a height previously considered suitable only for offshore locations.”

Referring to the recent RenewableUK poll, Mr Lang says: “Of the 1700 respondents, only seven per cent (119) were from Scotland. That is 0.002 per cent of the Scottish population. Of those 119, only 38 replied that they lived within five miles of a wind farm. That is 0.0007 per cent of the Scottish population. Choosing so few respondents from the UK area with the most onshore turbines in a poll seeking to determine public opinion on the issue makes the results inherently unreliable.

“In contrast, there were 192 respondents from London. Why ask Londoners their opinion of living within five miles of an onshore turbine when there are none anywhere near? They can have no idea of the adverse impacts of noise, disruption to water supplies, overwhelming visual intrusion and impacts on property prices caused by living near a large wind farm.”

He claims RenewableUK “has interpreted results from a statistically skewed section of the UK public to show that there is ‘overwhelming’ support for onshore wind farms”.

A spokesman for RenewableUK said its polling had been carried out independently by YouGov. “We would prefer to keep engaging on a factual basis,” he said, adding: “It is not only the YouGov polling which shows that there is a high level of public support for onshore wind nationwide.”

YouGov was also invited to comment.
John O’Groat Journal and Caithness Courier

What! You think this is all new? We wrote the script.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. I’m in Scotland and regularly fill in YouGov surveys, including plenty about political issues. I wasn’t invited to participate in this one and I would certainly have had plenty to say!

  2. Peter Pronczak says:

    Everyone deserves a break, even supporters of Pink Floyd or those who have never heard of the most brilliant Vivian Stanshall: Sir Henry of Rawlinsons End, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band or even Jollity Farm. Unfortunately our AU Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band’s brilliance was cut short.
    In respect of the above, & others not mentioned, may I suggest some light relief, most deserved of STT & followers, who perhaps are unaware of Dinner for One of 20min duration; to enjoy.

    With most respect from a bloody old bloke, to those concerned of truth and justice; had I some medals I’d pin ’em on ya’s.

  3. Steve Thomas says:

    All I have received is Lies from Texas local and state government the last 5 months. The 108 junk garbage with 8 seemingly on top of us, are due to be turned on in Hubbard and Mt. Calm TX. They nearly killed us and destroyed our roads with their endless convoys. The rich landowners do not live here, and the people being the dumb fucks they are–have never protested or even inquired. Brainwashed and brain dead in believing there’s some benefit in store for them. Just lies given to enrich the scumbag stakeholders. Just like the Homeowner Associations down in Houston last century, these pubic native Texans accept every state infliction! Any people who wish to move here to this scumbelt state–are fools! Worse state government in the Nation as they mentored the orange maggot!

    • Peter Pronczak says:

      Your frustration is palpable with those who have eyes yet not learned to see. Jim Kwik indirectly points out in Limitless that compulsory education that starts in daycare leads us up the garden path. Recently it was pointed out to me regarding the current IPCC report that when the ice finally melts on Greenland and Antarctica, “It will be hailed as a whole new frontier of opportunity for real-estate developers & land-bankers.”

      In AU there is a first homeowners grant usually about $15K but at times it has more than doubled. Our current PM, of a Pentecostal faith who speaks in tongues, apart from saying his religion doesn’t affect his politics, stated some years ago in regards to subsidised medicine, “That subsidies drive prices up.”
      Anyone can volunteer a service to society; as simple as putting rubbish in a bin. But why then is tax deductible charity required if government performed a proper function?

      Education starts in daycare and it is easier to spread fear than love. Gerry Spence in his best selling book How to Argue and Win Every Time (such a catching title) in his chapter on parenting put into words what most are unable to say.

  4. Shudong Zhou says:

    very BBC

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