Thank you for your very full up-date on the wind-turbine in your Friday’s paper, and I am sure you will be inundated by emails from both sides of the fence.
But it is not a ‘Folly’ in the traditional sense. When Mr Christie elaborated to your paper on his carbon-free motives, he neglected to add that he is expecting to make around £1million over the 25-year contract he will have with the National Grid. The electricity produced goes direct to the grid and is sold at several times the price paid for the normal mains electricity used by the opera-house. At the outset, he was reckoning to have paid off the cost of the turbine within six to seven years.
The protest, though, is about his erection of this monstrosity to dominate an area of the National Park officially classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He could have invested in an offshore wind-farm where they are far more effective, and where there is not the same sensitivity about their surroundings: a sensitivity surprisingly lacking in a man presumably steeped in the arts as the owner of Glyndebourne.
One must not overlook the other main mover in the siting of the turbine, an actual Ringmer Councillor, Professor Gardiner, who pushed the approval through while Lead Councillor for the Council Planning Committee.
It took two sittings and obtained approval on a ratio of just 6:4.
He famously said: “I would not be able to look my grandson in the eye in the future if I did not get approval for this turbine.”
It is probably now the case that as his grandson grows up he will not want to look his grandfather in the eye. As a professor of civil engineering one would have expected Cllr Gardiner to make approval subject to the results from the 12-month anemometer wind-speed tests which are now completed.
These results are expected to be confirmed by the first year’s performance figures to show that siting the turbine above Ringmer would make it one of the least effective in the country. The huge local protest against the siting of this wind-turbine must have been a major vote-loser for the LibDems, aiding their loss of the council majority to the Conservatives.
Eddie Gibbs, Lewes