The Campaign against Windfarms
This section of Country Guardian's website is concerned with the Campaign itself, including information about windfarm sites, opposition groups in the UK and Worldwide and practical advice.
Dr Mike Hall's reply to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
To: Ms Lee Hollingsworth
RSPB Wildlife Advisor
April 1st 2009
Dear Ms Hollingsworth,
I have now been forwarded your 'reply' to three people who had written to object about the RSPB attitude to wind farms. I note it is a 'standard reply' irrespective of the issues raised. So it is a PR gloss and is valueless - I can almost see you sat there with the CEO deciding on how to carry out your damage limitation exercise.
I have been too busy writing evidence for a Public Inquiry for the past 5 weeks at Armistead ( Cumbria) to write to you with my own objection until now. For Armistead, the RSPB adopted its usual fig-leaf cop-out position in supporting a 'habitat management plan' proposed by the developer and so did not object. Your lack of objection is despite the existence on and around the site of Hen Harrier (14 sightings in the last 6 years including a pair this year), Merlin, Peregrine, Curlew, Lapwing (including a field adjacent to the site in the Countryside Stewardship scheme for lapwing breeding), Yellowhammer, Skylark, Twite, Reed Bunting, and many other more common birds. Quite appalling.
You will not be surprised to learn that we resigned from the RSPB about 4 years ago after two decades of membership and support for your many special appeals, and did not consider your organisation for a legacy due to your hypocritical attitude - as also did a good friend of ours (except that he cut out the legacy already in his will).
I have given talks all over the north of England and Southern Scotland to public meetings of people distressed and anguished by wind farm proposals (probably 60-70 such addresses by now involving thousands of people). At quite a few of these the developers turn up. I can assure you I win the arguments hands down every time.
They are ignorant, incompetent and profit driven which becomes immediately clear to the audience.
Bird kill and disturbance has not figured as a prominent issue in my talks as I believe in many cases it is not the major issue. Hence I have not openly criticised the RSPB and have even acknowledged that the organisation has done fine work in various places such as Lewis. However, your organisation has now taken sides so I shall make a point of urging people to reflect on their loyalty to the RSPB and review their membership. I have been frankly amazed at how many people I know have expressed their outrage to me at what you have done.
One would not mind if you had any basis for your 'carefully considered position' but you have none. Wind farms destroy peoples lives, split communities, devastate habitats, kill bats and some birds, decimate the landscape, destroy peat, and are only built because of the subsidies they can reap. I attach an article from the Building Magazine ( April 11th 2008) about the peat on Whitelee wind farm site. Just read it and see if you don't get angry. They see peat as an engineering challenge to be destroyed and tamed. I also attach a Proof I have prepared for the Armistead Public Inquiry, and a summary of the history of CO2 savings by wind farms - which the BWEA has just HALVED to 0.43t/MWh after repeated defeats by the ASA. The BWEA action alone will have halved the savings or (put another way) doubled the number of turbines needed for any given saving. I won't go on in detail except to point out that even these supposed savings are greatly overstated. I believe in reducing CO2 emissions but unlike the RSPB realise that this is the wrong technology to even begin to address the issue. Hence the RSPB have mistakenly decided to back a technology which cannot contribute anything significant to the issue of climate change, the issue you use as your only excuse for backing this deceitful, dishonest and divisive industry. Your action is indefensible as well as being contrary to your charitable status.
Just for the record, I have managed (as a volunteer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust) an SSSI for the last 13 years, am a member of their 'Green Group' and personally calculated their carbon footprint for them and helped implement a green strategy which, in turn, helped formulate the policy for the national Wildlife Trusts organisation. I am also member of their Conservation Committee and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Fellow of the Institute of Biology.
99% of the people I help fight wind farms are the backbone of this country who CARE about what is happening and who are proud to look after their own back yards, as we all should be. They are the people the RSPB is insulting by its attitude. They come from all walks of life but almost to a man are socially responsible and are acutely aware of the pressures in modern society. But they are not as gullible as some of our conservation organisations. Miliband's recent insulting remarks together
with the RSPB announcement have done more to unite the groups opposed to wind farms than we could have ever dreamed of. For that I suppose I should be grateful.
I would be obliged if you would pass a copy of this letter to your Chief Executive and please don't send me your 'standard reply'.
Dr M J Hall