United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Seeing is believing

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More than 2000 people visited the site of a wind plant in England last month to see for themselves the machine at the heart of one of the most controversial planning decisions in the area for years. The level of attendance for a wind plant open day in the UK was unprecedented as hundreds of people registered their approval of the Enercon E-40 at Lynch Knoll at Nympsfield, Gloucestershire on August 10.

"We had masses of support from people," says Dale Vince of Western Windpower, developer of the wind project. "Here is proof that it is popular." The Member of Parliament for Stroud, David Drew, the town's mayor and also the head of the district council came along to lend their support.

A questionnaire completed by over 300 people showed that after seeing the turbine more were in favour of wind energy than when they arrived. Before the open day 80% approved and 17% were neutral, while at the end of the day, 93% approved -- a swing of 13%.

The event included a sponsored abseil in aid of local charity. Vince was the first of 20 volunteers to abseil 41 metres from the top of the turbine. And the beer tent did good business selling a beer named "Turbo Hog" in honour of the event. Meanwhile, the sun shone, the wind blew and the turbine generated a steady output, providing all the power to the beer coolers, public address system, hot food stand and bouncy castle. "Nobody usually dares hold an open day in August because of lack of wind," says Vince. "But we dare."

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