A New Industrial Landscape in the Dales

Electricity Generation in the UK

Yorkshire has a mixture of good and bad when it comes to the landscape, those areas which were once the backbone of the Industrial Revolution, have largely disappeared, leaving behind a post industrial wasteland. Sheffield and Rotherham for example were heavily polluted by the steel making, but rather than refining our techniques and cleaning them up so we could demonstrate to the World we could make the heavy stuff and still have a decent environment we exported much of our expertise to the less developed part of the World. I remember Davy McKee an Anglo American conglomerate [Davy were the Sheffield end] building steel factories in some of the poorest parts of the globe, taking advantage of lower everything: power, labour, raw material etc.

Of course I will be told that we produce more steel in Sheffield now than we did in the so-called peak days of the industrial past. But that means nothing, when the expertise of thousands of skilled workers has been lost, we could be making much more now, of very high quality precision steel, with our own technology, retaining the intellectual property for a successful future. But no we have let it all slip away, as we sought short term profits. Even those producers of steel that are left, a major tranche are foreign owned, not that we shouldn’t have such companies, but that the balance is wholly out of line, we ought to be leading the way, not watching from the sidelines.

Turning to the title of the piece, and in contrast to Sheffield is the area of the Yorkshire Dales largely unspoilt by industrial enterprise, although its appearance in many ways is the result of man and nature working in harmony from centuries old agricultural techniques, water management and production of locally derived goods.

Now the area is threatened by a new, science fiction; wind turbines, I use the term deliberately as they are most certainly a fiction with regard to effective science. A look at the monthly statistics of UK energy generation available at the GB Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (MW) site, demonstrates how totally inadequate wind is at providing a sustainable electrical supply, and it does not take a rocket scientist to conclude that the number of proposed turbines across the UK, in the thousands, will be an economic disaster, and an environmental nightmare, which may take years or even decades to recover from. The image at the head of the article is a screen shot from the statistical analysis, showing the first three months of 2012, the big three contributors: Combined Cycle Gas Turbine, Nuclear and Coal, make up the bulk of the supply and these are shown in the 10,000-20,000MW band. The top green band is total supply. All the rest: Wind, Pumped Storage, Hydro, Open Cycle Gas Turbine, Oil and Other, hover between 0 and 3,500MW band. Below is wind in isolation.

Wind Electricity Generation in the UK

The new proposal in the Dales is in a location already blighted by a wind farm, at Kettlesing, and of course that other elephant on the landscape, RAF Memwith Hill, [a small but ever growing piece of the USA!] I like to count the number of turbines rotating whenever I pass, I have yet to see all eight turbines rotating at the same time, but in fairness I do not pass by every day, it would be good to get a more accurate picture of the reliability of the machines. The existing turbines are 97.5metre high, to the nacelle I’m informed, and the proposal is for seven more on the south of 100metres height, then four to the east of the seven at 115metres, and the grand-daddy, a further seventeen at 125metres high to the south of the two aforementioned schemes, beyond the Beaver Dyke Reservoir in the vicinity of Scargill reservoir. The following link on Google Maps gives a clear indication of the landscape, and it is not difficult to envisage the mess this will cause, especially as it is downstream of the well enjoyed landscape around Fewston Reservoir.

Kelda the company behind the wind farm proposals, will make huge profits from the wind farms as a result of the way the funding is skewed. Wind farms would not happen if left to normal commercial constraints, the consumer will is being fleeced, and when it is over, say in thirty years time, who will be asked to clear up another post-post industrial landscape, yes us the taxpayers. If, like me, you feel this is unacceptable, or if you just want to learn more about what happens around you when if you leave things to the politicians, visit http://www.savethedales.co.uk/ and register your comment on the contact form here. The site has a lot of useful information about wind farms, and of other threats in and around the Dales.

Save the Dales Website

We weren’t so Lucky

Locally our efforts to thwart a similar project near Hook Moor, has been overturned and we face similar monsters, rising up by the side of the A1/M1 link, a lovely view from Lotherton Hall! But will it make a difference to our energy requirements? NO!


There are examples of sustainable energy in the Dales, sitting in the river Bain at the edge of Bainbridge, east of Hawes on the A684 is an Archimedes screw turbine generator, quietly producing around 185,000 KWhours of electricity [figures from:co2sense.org.uk] The watercourse varies in volume, clearly based on precipitation, but the impact on the local landscape is almost un-noticed, only an observant passer by would spot the turbine in the river bank; I am told that it is also fish friendly. The Bain joins the river Ure to the north of Bainbridge and together along with many other tributaries the water passes over the falls at Aysgarth. How much additional energy could be harvested in this area, I do not know, but surely a better proposition than wind farms?

For those interested in other campaigns against the march of Wind Farms here is an article on the Telegraph web site

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