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Celebrities hit back at opponents -- British pro-wind campaign

High profile supporters from the worlds of design, architecture, music and the media are backing the UK wind industry's latest campaign to win the hearts and minds of the British public. Among the list of wind champions are London Mayor Ken Livingstone, environmentalist Zac Goldsmith -- son of billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith -- Guy Berryman from band Coldplay, founder of the international Body Shop chain Anita Roddick, historian Simon Schama, designer Wayne Hemingway, the Bishop of Liverpool, designers of the London Eye Marks Barfield, television celebrities Kevin McCloud and Chris Tarrant, and architect Lord Foster, head of Foster & Partners, which designed Enercon's award winning turbine at Swaffham in Norfolk.

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is fighting back against the growing number of attacks on wind in recent months. Its campaign Embrace the Revolution aims to counter a series of well known celebrity opponents of wind energy -- including popular television personalities like David Bellamy and Noel Edmonds -- who have gained widespread media coverage for their anti-wind message. BWEA is spending £250,000 on the campaign up to the end of the year.

Tarrant, presenter of the popular television show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," calls wind turbines "modern day Guardian Angels." They are "a stunning addition to our rural landscape and a must if we are to move toward a future powered by green energy," he says. The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool says: "I support the development of wind energy as a vital contribution to the range of renewable sources of energy that are urgently needed to secure the well being of the earth."

Perhaps the most inspirational quote comes from Tom Dixon, creative director of the Habitat store group. He declares: "There are few more heroic examples of the union of design and engineering than the wind turbine. They are an inspiration to anybody involved in creating innovative solutions for modern living. Where can I get one?" David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects, which created the huge Ferris wheel popularly known as the London Eye which towers over the heart of London, say wind energy is the best environmentally sustainable and economically viable renewable energy source. "That is why we are actively exploring ways to incorporate wind turbines within landmark buildings that we are designing today."

Petition

The campaign is also backed by photographers from the world famous Magnum agency. Their exhibition at the London Eye of new images of wind turbines aims to challenge perceptions that they are ugly.

The public are to be given a chance to show support for wind by signing a petition available online on the internet. According to BWEA, the names of every supporter will go on four new wind turbines to be built in 2005. The petition hopes to capitalise on the majority support for wind revealed by two recent polls by the BWEA and Greenpeace (page 8)

Embrace is all about giving a vehicle for the silent majority to make their views known, says BWEA's Alison Hill. "We know -- and the surveys continually show -- that the majority of people out there are in fact highly supportive of wind energy, whether just in principle as a good thing or in practice in their back yards," she says.

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