On the tail of my two pieces about wind turbines and the huge response I received in their wake, it has been brought to my attention that there is another huge (literally) threat to our landscapes through the pressing demand for more and more electricity.
While whole farms of wind turbines have already blighted much of the wonderful seascapes we had here in the UK and in other parts of the world, their presence on the rolling uplands of the UK has perhaps been even more disheartening.
In addition to the significant danger they pose to wildlife (birds, bats, whales...), they are also, some say, detrimental to the health of the human population that lives in their shadow. And importantly, they don't seem to contribute very much to energy production which begs many questions about their purpose.
But wind turbines are not the only threat.
It seems that an army of giant electricity pylons are destined to march across our countryside, casting their dark shadows on what beautiful natural vistas still remain.
One particular proposal for a line of giant pylons across the Duddon Estuary in Cumrbia UK, which is currently 'paused' pending a decision by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in October 2018, came up against huge local opposition when it emerged in 2012 and campaigners have been fighting against the plans ever since.
National Grid PLC, a private company, had intended to link the new Moorside nuclear power station at the Sellafield complex in West Cumbria to the grid at Heysham in Lancashire. While the intention was to bury the cables along much of the route, still a series of huge pylons was to be erected across the scenic Duddon Estuary, replacing the existing row of small pylons with 90 new ones double the size at 50 metres (160 ft) each. This, campaigners say, would cause untold damage to the landscape and tourism. And you can see their point...
There are alternatives; re-routing the cables, burying them, building underwater tunnels to house them – all of which would cost more than the pylons, but what price can we put on our countryside?
In parts of Scotland it's already too late, large pylons march across formerly unspoilt countryside, in spite of local opposition.
While we are all responsible for adding to the demand for more and more energy, is it not equally important to be aware of the untold damage we are doing to our environment in our thirst for ever more power?
The thing that perhaps worries me the most is that private companies appear to be cutting costs in an effort to maximise profit. This leaves no room for the protection of our landscape and natural environment.
And this is even before we look at concerns over the suggested health hazards involved in living near high voltage electricity lines (more about which in a future post).
I invite readers to have their say by commenting below. Is this also a concern in other parts of the world? Or is it a particularly British problem?
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