Bishop wins backing for his anti-wind farm stance
Campaigners against wind turbines have applauded a bishop for speaking out against wind farms by saying they are a "blot" on the face of "God's creation".
The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Martin Wharton, warned that instead of fending off global warning, the rapid spread of giant wind turbines was starting to have a "massive environmental impact" on the countryside.
In a strongly-worded letter published in The Journal newspaper, the bishop said he had a Christian duty to protect the countryside from "becoming marred and disfigured".
"It is a basic Christian truth that we all have a duty and a responsibility to care for and exercise wise stewardship over God's creation, which has been entrusted to us," he said.
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"Our countryside needs to be protected and preserved for ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren as a place of refreshment and renewal for the spiritual health and wellbeing of us all." Tim Hale, chairman of the East Devon and Exeter branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: "Bishop Wharton is right. Wind farms are stochastically intermittent, extremely expensive, and they do not assist the security of supply. There is no proper market for them."
Last year the Diocese of Exeter was forced to withdraw plans to erect turbines on its land in Devon after "angry and hostile" opposition.
The proposals had been put forward for the 25m (82ft) turbines in East Anstey, Black Torrington and Chittlehampton as part of a commitment "to protect and preserve God's creation".
Acting chairman of the CPRE in Cornwall, Tony Hilton, said he was broadly supportive of the bishop's stance.
"Wind turbines are merely an efficient way of putting money in people's pockets. The Government has been pulling the wool over our eyes for ages, and it's about time the whole thing was exposed as one big con," he said. Bishop Wharton is the first leading figure in the Church of England to speak out against green energy breaking ranks with those who believe climate change must be combated at any almost cost.
And Ian Liddell Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater, said he welcomed the comments, adding his own opinion that wind turbines are an "abomination".
"Amen Bishop Wharton! Wind farms are an appalling eyesore. They are give nothing back to the grid, they create no jobs, they are a nuisance to locals, and they harm the landscape," he said.
But Labour MP for Exeter Ben Bradshaw criticised the comments on social network Twitter. He wrote: "Churches should be leading way on environment/God's creation including fighting biggest threat: climate change."
Bishop Wharton added: "Is now not the time to say 'enough' to any further blots on our landscape? Please remember above all that 'The earth is the Lord's, and all that fills it' – Psalm 24."