Scottish Conservative Euro MP Struan Stevenson last night addressed a mass protest rally against wind turbines in Athlone, West Meath, in the Irish Midlands. Organised by Marian Harkin, Independent MEP for Ireland’s North West constituency, over 300 attended the standing-room only event at the Athlone Springs Hotel where Struan warned the gathered audience against desecrating the Irish landscape merely for the sake of satisfying the UK’s carbon emissions targets.
Speaking after the event, Struan Stevenson, a well-known and outspoken critic of the Scottish Government’s wind energy policy and author of a recent book ‘SO MUCH WIND – The Green Energy Myth’, said:
“This rally proved an enormous success and I was happy to share my views about Scotland’s disastrous wind energy policy with the people of the Irish Midlands, where one of the world’s largest wind factory developments is being proposed. This project, called Greenwire, will see over 1,100 onshore and 1,300 offshore installations of the biggest turbines on the planet tower from 157 to 184 metres high over at least 50 separate industrial wind parks and offshore arrays, to supply Britain with electricity. The project will not even be connected to the Irish electricity grid, but will involve thousands of kilometres of underground cabling dug along the sides of Irish roads and two giant undersea cables, to link it to the UK national grid in North and West Wales.
“As we have already sadly seen with windfarm developments in Scotland, this project will leave an industrial wasteland in its wake, with a ravaged landscape, devastated tourist trade, blighted lives, mangled birdlife and shrunken property values for local residents. Meanwhile, a small number of landowners and councils will pocket an estimated €50 million in annual rental agreements and local rates, not to mention the millions in bribes being touted by the developers by way of so-called ‘community benefit.’”
“This plan to industrialise the beautiful Midlands of Ireland, simply to export electricity to England, so that the UK can meet its 2020 EU carbon emission targets, is a financial scandal on the same scale of the recent banking scandal. The cost of this massive project will be passed straight down the line to electricity consumers in Britain, where bills are already soaring, driving millions into actual fuel poverty and destroying jobs. The intermittent trickle of electricity produced by wind turbines over a period of only 15 to 20 years, never justifies their massive cost and collateral damage to lives and property.
“The turnout at this rally clearly points to the fact that the overwhelming majority of people in the Irish Midlands want their government in Dublin to withdraw support for this scheme and I call upon the UK government to do the same.”