Like A circle In a Spiral

Ever since I can remember we have had to live with many and varied ‘blots’ on our landscape: everything from pylons that carry our electricity, to water towers, and more recently mobile phone masts, although many of these are still viewed with suspicion. Huge power stations of all shapes and sizes are everywhere. Indeed nuclear plants still conjure mixed emotion. Today, for better or worse, we are witnessing the installation of more and more controversial revolving wind turbines. Throughout the centuries human beings have had to create different types of ‘blots’ to suit their social and economic needs whether it be the huge chimneys of industrial Britain or the wind and water mills that have now become tourist attractions working only in a Constable painting. It led me to wonder if in the distant past there had been such public outcry as the thousands of pylons were erected across the whole of the UK which effectively put paid to the Thomas Hardy landscape view of rural Britain. Pylons were put up and are still there today. There are many instances of pylons and little electrical sub-stations being placed within feet of someone’s front door. Families have bought houses that have a pylon as their neighbour. So what is it that makes so many people object to a wind farm? There is of course, the N.I.M.B.Y syndrome (not in my back yard) which, given the sheer size of the things is hardly surprising: for what it’s worth I regard it as a huge injustice to place one of these things anywhere within a 25 mile radius of someone’s home. Yet what else is there? After all we need to find new sources of energy to survive. These huge turbines do emit a certain amount of noise and vibration which you might not get from other ‘blots’ making peoples anxiety perfectly understandable. Recently I visited the east coast and was immediately struck by the awesome changes to the seascape made by these clusters of surreal monsters. The seaside just didn’t look like the seaside anymore. Surely, I thought, they would have been better placed as far away as an oil or gas platform might be? Wouldn’t that be, please forgive my uneducated naivety, windier? Imagine the public outcry if an oil terminal suddenly appeared at the end of a Yarmouth pier! Some of the turbines were spinning: some were not, and I have to admit to wincing at the visual effect. Perhaps at some future date these huge new ‘blots’ on the block will become redundant as our scientists discover alternative sources of energy generation but, in the meantime, it looks as if the wind turbine is here to stay. They do remind me of something that Salvador Dali might have created although I doubt whether he would have left them all battleship grey. Surely the powers that be could have, at least, made the ‘sails’ different colours: a little like a child’s windmill on a sandcastle.

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