Proportion and location

SO, the Mill Plain wind turbine is arriving. I have never been a great supporter of the Downs National Park, believing that there was enough protection anyway, without the car parks, visitors’ centre etc which will be involved.

But now we have the Park and with all the supposed additional protection, we have the turbine. If the National Park had not been approved we would all have said the turbine would never have happened if the Park had been created.

Mr Christie’s statement reported in your issue (September 23) concentrates on the reduction in Glyndebourne’s ‘carbon emmissions’. This really means a great reduction in the opera house’s electricity bill at the expense of all electricity users, through the subsidies.

I have not been able to find out what this is. Figures offered vary widely which probably means it is too high to be generally acceptable.

I very much doubt if any less fossil fuel will be used as a result of the operation of this turbine. I am advised that this is the general experience, even in Denmark.

Mr Christie’s claims are rather hollow in the light of Glyndebourne’s installation in recent times of electric heaters on the balconies.

Other factors usually overlooked are the energy used in manufacturing, erecting, maintaining and finally disposing of these devices, and the use of rare metals which are mined and refined in conditions which would be unacceptable here.

Some people say that wind turbines are beautiful objects. As an engineer I would agree, I think most well engineered objects have a beauty, but I do not expect everyone to agree with that.

Many people say that ancient Chinese vases are beautiful, or well designed buildings, but none of us would want a 230ft Chinese vase or building on top of the Downs – it is a matter of proportion and location.

The destruction of the vista is compounded because the huge wind vanes move.

A stationary object such as an electricity pylon can be dimmed by the brain to make it less obtrusive, the environment remaining the major interest, but anything that moves has a fascination which draws attention away from its environment.

The contributors in the last two paragraphs of your report have it right, I think.

In case anyone looks back at my credentials – yes, I was on the Planning Committee at which this application was approved; I was in the Chair and hoped to be able to give a casting vote in line with the Officers’ recommendation, but it was passed by the minimum margin of 6 to 4.

David Mitchell, Barcombe