Green view of Array

Joseph Bulmer

SIR - Cllr Jim Bell (Opinion, October 5) asks us to believe that Cllr Ricky Knight’s comment that a proposed incinerator would be an ‘abomination’ is equivalent to Cllr Bell’s own remark that the proposed Atlantic Array ‘is an Abomination beyond the scope of human imagination’.

The Green Party member Rosemary Brian was right to take Cllr Bell to task for his misuse of language (Opinion, September 21). In normal parlance, the words ‘an abomination beyond the scope of human imagination’ are taken to mean wickedness on the scale of the extermination of six million Jews.

Despite his bluster, Cllr Bell’s ill-considered and insensitive choice of words makes no sense if applied to the Atlantic Array. He may not like offshore wind farms, but there are many of them around the world, built by a host of different countries, and they are often supported by major wildlife organisations.

Natural England will, with the Joint Nature Conservation Council, rigorously assess the potential impact of the Atlantic Array on marine life. They can impose conditions or oppose the granting of planning permission.

Cllr Bell went on to make another injudicious claim that also needs correction. He wrote about the gruesome deaths of seals by ‘corkscrew’ cuts (from unknown causes) found on North Sea beaches.

Having spent a week travelling with his wife to England’s east coast to find out about offshore wind farms, he attributed the seal deaths to the propellers of boats used to construct wind turbines.

We decided to check the story with the Marine Management Organisation, which is responsible for researching the problem. They referred us to Marine Scotland who told us this: “There have been a number of cases of similar seal mortalities recorded in the mouth of the River Tay in Scotland at times when no wind farm construction activities were taking place. The possible causes of these mortalities are under active investigation but it is too early to reach any firm conclusions. The newspaper reports on this issue have included an element of speculation which is not really warranted by the limited information available.”

Cllr Bell concluded his letter by claiming that the Green Party, because it supports wind turbines, is oblivious to ‘bird kill’ and thus to what he calls the consequent ‘ecological catastrophe’. Cllr Bell is apparently unaware that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds supports appropriately-sited wind turbines, as we do, because of the major contribution renewable energy can make to mitigating the effects of climate change on wildlife.

It is important to recall that Natural England found no major problems for wildlife with the proposed wind farm at Batsworthy Cross (and approved it subject to minor safeguards).

Rosemary Haworth-Booth,

Press Officer,

North Devon Green Party