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Wind farm storm in Lincolnshire as county council says, “Enough is enough”



The wind power sector has received its latest attack, after Lincolnshire county council appealed for an absolute halt to the “unrestrained invasion” of turbines in the region.

Councillors met last week to discuss the council’s position on onshore wind farms and decided that although it was “not opposed to all wind farms”, there existed an overriding concern that the county may have taken more than its fair share of wind farm developments.

“Enough is enough”, remarked council leader, Martin Hill.

“Not only are these things spoiling our beautiful countryside for future generations, they could also seriously damage the tourism industry.”

Hill’s statements, appealing for a re-evaluation of the current Position Statement on Wind Farms, depict a view that is not unheard of in the media. Earlier this year, National Trust chairman Sir Simon Jenkins’ comments, in which he criticised wind power as the “least efficient” form of renewable energy, created an argument both about efficiency and the concern that wind farms are blighting treasured landscapes.

Sir Simon claimed that the wind powered turbines “wreck the countryside” – a view shared by Lincolnshire county council leader, Hill, who stated, “People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because of landscape’s blighted by wind farms.

“On top of that, there are also issues around the damage caused by roads during the construction and decommissioning of turbines.

“Although we understand the need for alternative energy and are not opposed to all wind farms”, he added, “We remain unconvinced by the questionable science behind them.”

With regard to the planning of wind turbine developments, the county council is not the local planning authority. The responsibility of wind farms under 50 megawatt (MW) in capacity lies with district councils, whilst developments over the 50MW benchmark sit with the Infrastructure Planning Commission and now the secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey.

County councils act as consultants on draft policies set up by the district council through the Local Development Framework Core Strategy.

Conservative MP for Lincoln, Karl McCartney, added, “This is an issue that I, along with 101 of my colleagues in Parliament, have written to [the] prime minister, David Cameron, about.”

Wind farm opposition is a much-covered subject, but Robert Norris, head of communications at RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the wind industry, argues that this view is not in the majority.

“We want people to feel that they are part of the process of which wind farms are developed, with local community consent”, he told Blue & Green Tomorrow.

“We think that Lincolnshire county council should be judging every single application on its merits.

“That is the democratic way forward, rather than trying to pre-empt decisions by the district council or introduce blanket-bans.”

RenewableUK’s “disappointment” at the county council’s chosen stance highlights the “undemocratic” nature of the appeal.

Although Norris admits that consideration of an aesthetic argument is certainly an equal counter-weight that must be involved in the stringent process, he feels that the public’s right to comment on applications has somehow been overridden.

“A small group of people appear to be hijacking the debate”, he added.

This month, The Independent revealed surprisingly strong public support for wind farms. A ComRes poll which posed the statement, “Building new wind farms is an acceptable price to pay for greener energy in the future”, showed that 68% of the public were in agreement, 23% disagreed and the remaining 9% were unsure.

Views on wind: Ben Willers. (click to enlarge)

“Part of the process of switching from traditional fossil fuels to low carbon energy resources is asking whether people are prepared to accept that”, Norris said.

In response to Hill’s remarks that the science behind wind turbines is “questionable”, Norris responded, “I think Martin Hill is behind the times if he is thinking in this way. Really the debate on whether wind energy is efficient or cost effective has been settled years ago.

“Most scientific opinion will clarify that wind energy is an extremely efficient way of generating electricity.

“Onshore wind is the most cost effective form of renewable energy and it’s a mature renewable technology which crucially means that it can be deployed in time to make up this huge energy gap that we are facing.

“We think that the councillor needs to perhaps visit wind farms and see the effect that they have had on the local communities where they have been welcomed.”

Hill’s statements were published by hyperlocal news website, The Lincolnite, on June 6, and public responses teamed in.

One read, “Well done LCC (Lincolnshire county council), about time someone stopped the spread of these farms destroying our contryside (sic) and making profits for the companies.”

We refer this reader back to the point we made when responding to Sir Simon Jenkins’ attack on the wind industry: harnessing the vast potential of the UK’s both onshore and offshore wind is one of the most effective ways to ensure that our countryside is kept in its current, often pristine condition.

It’s in fact a failure to harness the capability of wind that will destroy the countryside.

At Blue & Green Tomorrow, we’re currently working on the latest edition to our “Guide to…” series, which focuses on renewable energy, so look out for that later this month.

Further reading:

National trust chairman slates wind power 

Questions of Efficiency


How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life



how climate change affect our lives
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Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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5 Things You Can Do Yourself to Improve the Value of Your House



home renovation and improvement
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Whether you want to own it or list it, every once in a while, a house needs a facelift. This will not only improve quality of your life but will capitalize your home’s value significantly, too.

The best way to improve home value by yourself is to upgrade only what is necessary and nothing more. For instance, why would you buy a new bathroom door when a little retouch and a coat of fresh paint will suffice? By taking this approach, you are allowing yourself to make several small improvements instead of venturing just one or bigger ones. Select projects thoughtfully and know when you should stop.

Pitch in for the kitchen

If you really want a return on investment one day, start in the kitchen. By many, the kitchen still represents the heart and the soul of the house, the central hub of a property and it will all on its own add colossal value to your home. Moreover, the kitchen can be a breaking point in selling the house, so you should not hold on to your wallet in this area.

There are many little things you can do to spruce up the overall image of your kitchen. You may paint the kitchen cabinets, replace old door handles, add additional storage space with a sliding wall or a kitchen island if there is enough room for it. In addition, you may open the living space up by taking a kitchen wall down. Possibilities for do-it-yourself are many.

Add an attic or a basement bedroom

Properties are usually valued by two things: land size and the number of bedrooms. The price range between a three to four-bedroom home is two to four hundred thousand. Since you can’t change the size of your land, you can at least increase the number of bedrooms.

If you are prepared to go full-scale, converting the attic or the basement into the bedroom is another especially favored project that will by far boost up your home’s value once you decide to put it on the market. Until you decide to list it you will enjoy in your own extra space for entertainment, living, sleeping, playing, exercising, or whatever you fancy.

Transformation with paint

If your walls have scrapes and stained paint, a vintage color or shabby wallpaper, several cans of paint can make a striking distinction. In order to increase the value of your home, it is recommended to go with neutral colors that will unify the whole house and make the space visually bigger.

transformation with paint

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Bottom line, nothing can transform a home like a cast of fresh new paint. It is the number one way to beef up a property value of any budget. Additionally, painting the house is still one of the easiest, fastest and highest value drivers.

Secure with style

All of your effort and money would be wasted if you can’t protect the investments you made. A good security door costs as little as a few hundred dollars but if it saves you just once from being robbed it instantly pays itself off. People avoid putting security screens on windows because they mostly do not look stylish enough, but there are other options, such as installing shutters. There are so many elegant and cool shutter options that we found at Independent Blinds & Awnings that it’s really hard not to find something for you.

Basic maintenance for a worry-free mind

A clean house is a healthier house for you and your family. By making a clean house your number one on the list for improving, you accomplish a couple of things at once.

First, you stay on track with maintenance issues and, consequently you are able to recognize future problems before they become costly ones. Secondly, you don’t allow dirt and garbage to pile up over time. Thirdly, smudged, dirty windows can have a bad impact on the overall perception of the house. Same as eyes are windows to the soul, windows are for the home. Therefore, you need to wash them properly.

Spice up the landscaping

Big backyard is an all Australian dream and still, it is more often than not the most ignored area of the house. However, landscaping is really important as it frames a property from every corner.

Simple, low budget cosmetic changes in the front yard including installing garden beds, adding plants, pebbles or mulch, and paving or painting the front walls will positively lift the curb appeal as well as the property value. As for the backyard, you may span a lawn to create more open space for you and your family to move freely, cut and reduce unruly trees and vegetation, and fix the fence if needed.

Adding value to your home through a cosmetic or structural renovation is an actual way to quickly enhance your money invested in a property. In the end, you need to make sure that if you will continue to live in the house and renovate, that your renovations will contribute to a good lifestyle and that it will give the impression of a “ready to move in” property once you decide to list it.

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