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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

WAR OF WORDS

Britain's anti-wind farm group, Country Guardian, is as busy as ever in its mission to halt the advance of wind power. Wind energy developers up and down the country are increasingly spotting the hand of Country Guardian on the post received by planning authorities from people opposed to wind farms and in the letters columns of local newspapers.

The latest targets for the Country Guardian's attention are the proposed wind farms at West Garty and Helmsdale in Sutherland. In addition to sending two of its members to address a meeting of the local wind farm opposition group, it sent a circular urging submissions of written protest about the plans.

The circular, from Country Guardian vice chairman Robert Woodward, read: "Please pick up your pens again É to help our friends in Scotland." The group's members were instructed to write to the divisional planning officer of Highland Regional Council, copying their letters to local MP Robert Maclennan. To make things easier for them, Woodward even set out grounds for their objections. "Please try to give a personal note to your letter," he ended. "If you can make them feel that you will not be spending your money as a tourist in Sutherland if this goes ahead, they may think twice!" This of course begs a question: how many of Country Guardian's members are indeed planning to spend their holidays in Sutherland?

Not to be outdone, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is launching an offensive by encouraging its own members to adopt the letter writing habit. In the latest edition of Wind Directions -- the newsletter of the BWEA and the European Wind Energy Association -- Director Hugh Babington Smith speaks of the need to counter disaffection among local planning authorities and controversy in the media caused by a vociferous minority.

"By writing letters, individual members can do much to shift the balance back to the truth -- that wind energy projects, properly planned and executed are a benefit to society and the environment. Three targets for letters are the local press, planning authorities and MPs," he advises.

With all this extra post, Britain's Royal Mail will be rubbing its hands in glee.

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