Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Huw Lewis

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Huw Lewis

Article excerpt

Byline: By Huw Lewis

The true majesty of Hadrian's Wall comes from the manner in which it threads a course through rocks and fields on its high central section.

It traces the folds of the Northumberland countryside all-but unchanged in 2,000 years to unite nature's beauty with the brutal manmade reality of defence and dominion.

The wall where it survives in urban and suburban Tyneside is merely picturesque, a quaint reminder of our ancient heritage sliced between housing estates.

When it leaps up to the high ground west of Chollerford it has a very different character. The wall is almost unbroken. To walk close to it is to see and feel the surroundings as a nervy young legionnaire might have done.

Farmsteads, built with the stones of the wall itself, dot the landscape. The preserved settlements of Housesteads and Vindolanda stand out below and beyond them mile after mile after mile of stark, barren moor as threatening, beautiful and unsullied now as it must have seemed to a conscript from Rome all those centuries ago.

It is on a great swathe of this moor ( 1,000ft up just south of Haltwhistle at Plenmeller ( that UK Coal wishes to erect 24 wind turbines.

I don't often find myself quoting Prince Charles, but they would be, in words describing a quite different building: "A scar across the face of a much-loved friend."

This is how far wind farm madness has stretched. Our obsession with a costly and fragile renewable energy form, of marginal significance to our future power needs but with great environmental impact, has led us to a point where someone would seriously consider defiling one of the North-East's sacred places.

And for what? Those 24 turbines would produce enough power for 6,000 homes, providing the wind blows hard enough ( not enough to meet the needs of the Haltwhistle area, let alone beyond.

The debate about wind farms must balance the large impact of turbines against this small return in energy. Are we really so desperate we must butcher our hillsides for a few kilowatts more?

I am not against turbines. I am against the presumption that they must be built on every other hillside. …

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