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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

LITERARY VITRIOL

British MP Nigel Evans launched a long invective against wind turbines in the House of Commons, spicing it with spurious arguments and gross exaggeration, and peppering it with quotes from sources as diverse as Cervantes, Blake and the Daily Telegraph newspaper. In reply, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Energy put up a robust defence.

Don Quixote rides again. At least he does in Britain's House of Commons. Comparing himself to the person of La Mancha recently was the honourable member for Ribble Valley, Nigel Evans MP, who on May 1 tabled a parliamentary debate on wind energy. His long invective against wind turbines was peppered with quotes from sources as diverse as Cervantes and William Blake, not overlooking less literary authorities such as the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Assisted by fellow members of parliament Colin Pickthall and Sir Donald Thompson, Evans denigrated wind's contribution compared with nuclear, spicing his vitriol with spurious arguments and gross exaggeration. After complaining about the extremely ugly nature of "wind factories" which scar the countryside, he called for fresh ways to conserve energy and more powers to allow local authorities to turn down wind turbine applications.

In reply, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Energy, Richard Page, put up a robust defence. Wind is a major part of the renewable energy scene, he said adding that if Evans has "some idea that the government will walk away from the idea, he is doomed to disappointment." Listing some of the companies that have already secured substantial orders, Page said the wind business is expected to be worth £11 billion to British companies over the next ten years. "I wonder whether the workers in those factories would want wind energy to be tossed to one side, following the rather draconian measures advocated in some quarters," he commented. He also reminded Evans that wind farm sites have to be acceptable in planning terms.

Finally, he offered Evans some friendly advice against using Don Quixote as a parallel in future. "If I remember rightly, Don Quixote had a fairly chequered career, most of which was completely and utterly unsuccessful," he said. "Wind power is here to stay, and we must make sure that it is introduced in a sensitive fashion."

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