Responding to the lunatic fringe

Top marks for your September editorial, High Time to Strike Back. I, too, am concerned that the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is adopting only a reactive stance in the face of lunatic "nimby" attacks on British wind power development.

Perhaps discreet lobbying is the name of the game in the corridors of Whitehall, but these days the public face of BWEA looks too much like the academic talking-shop it used to be. The emerging UK renewables industries deserve a lot more banging of the drum.

I had the opportunity to question David Bellamy from the floor the other day at a public meeting in Durham. Now there's a guy who has totally lost the plot quite a few of the more joined-up environmentalists are actually prepared to say so to his face. He is still wedded to a 1970s paradigm -- waiting for some wondrous techie answer to all our energy/sustainability problems and unable to recognise that wind turbines are part of the solution.

Like some elements of the British engineering establishment, he is too ready to dismiss the "trifling" amounts of electricity from individual turbines and fails to comprehend how fuel-saving incremental generation actually offsets CO2 emissions. Dr Bellamy also conveniently forgets that wind turbines dotting the landscape were actually a common feature of the Utopian counter-culture visions of his own formative years...

Unfortunately the media is still in thrall to a small number of these wretched dinosaurs, professors emeritus with out-of-date world views, who continue to occupy a platform that they do not deserve, whether as climate change sceptics, nuclear advocates or wind power Quixotes.

To respond to this, the champions of the UK renewables industries need to reach out to anyone who will listen and claim their own soapboxes. Where was the wind industry sponsorship of Olympic sailing? Engagement with the traditional yachting and gliding community is a missed opportunity, but "extreme" sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing and paragliding are still there for the taking. Product placement should extend to working Lego models, computer games, more TV and video backdrops, whatever. And all this must be backed up by articulate personalities, celebrities and pro-wind professors -- as your editorial rightly points out.