George Monbiot: No more wind turbines on land

Leading environmental campaigner and author George Monbiot has said that he believes land-based wind farms in the UK 'have reached saturation point', and that any future farms should be built at sea.

Speaking to an audience at the Hay Festival, Monbiot said:
'Beyond having a few more windfarms, it'll generate so much antagonism it'll turn people off dealing with climate change.'

Advising a move to offshore windfarms, which are more expensive but cause far less visual intrusion or local controversy, Monbiot noted that Wales in particular was rich in sources of renewable energy:
'Cardigan Bay has great advantages. It's shallow water and it's very windy, meaning you could build on a wide scale producing huge amounts of energy,' he said.

Wind farms developers are finding it increasingly hard to obtain planning permission for new developments, and trade body the British

Wind Energy Association (BWEA) doubts that last week's Planning White Paper will make matters easier. Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of the BWEA, said that the association was 'deeply disappointed' by the government's lack of ambition in its approach to wind energy.

There are currently some 8,000 megawatts of potential wind energy held up in the planning system, a figure that represents 6 per cent of the UK's electricity needs.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007