Members of the UK wind industry will be familiar with the Nympsfield story because it follows a national pattern. The anti wind farm group Country Guardian adopts the same strategy against every project -- local residents are bombarded with scare stories and misinformation, creating fear and opposition and stifling debate. Stroud was no exception.
The other experience well known to the UK wind industry comes after the installation of wind turbines. When local people get the chance to see and hear them for themselves, they overwhelmingly approve.
Stroud is no exception in this respect either. The response from the public has been fantastic. In the six months the turbine has been operational, it has attracted more than 15,000 visitors. Local people are greatly impressed by the technology, particularly its quietness, its grace and by the contribution it makes to local energy needs. And the people of Stroud have just elected a new Member of Parliament to represent them. They have replaced the MP who campaigned against wind power with a new man who is in favour of it.
The next planning application in this area will be judged on real local experience -- not the hype and misinformation that characterises the activities of extremists. The message is clear: the vast majority of the UK public support wind power and want to see more of it.