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« A small win for Svensmark | Main | Energy day »
Thursday
Sep052013

Official policy: put kids in mortal danger

The Telegraph reports on a wind turbine in the grounds of a school in Thurso was destroyed by a brisk breeze:

Two blades were ripped from the 18m high turbine in the Scottish Highlands and thrown up to 60 yards away after it was hit by 40mph gales. A third was left badly buckled.

The risk to the lives of children is obvious, although mercifully nobody was injured on this occasion.

Readers should be clear that putting wind turbines in school grounds is not something that is done willy-nilly. It is officially encouraged, part of the sustainable education strategy put in place in 2006 by the then Labour Education Secretary Alan Johnson.

By 2020, the Government would like all schools to be models of energy efficiency, renewable energy use and water management. They should take the lead in their communities by showcasing wind, solar and bio-fuel energy, low-energy equipment, freshwater conservation, use of rainwater and other measures.

Also calling for more wind turbines in school grounds is green Labour MP and Energy and Climate Change Committee member, Alan Whitehead.

So, we wonder, did Mr Johnson and the educational bureaucracy give a moment's thought to the danger they were putting children in when they put this policy in place. Will he explain what he was playing at?

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Reader Comments (58)

Jim Turner:
Maybe the same way some builders avoid their obligation to build "affordable housing" - by paying a sum of money to the Council instead.

Sep 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Gareth, if you were a regular reader you would know that I am an Aussie (born in Europe).

Neither of your citations are very convincing. A "plan" to avoid something which has not been demonstrated as a substantial risk means nothing. It is boilerplate greenie fury, signifying nothing.

The second study claims that they counted "26,442" bats crossing a heavily trafficked highway in Pennsylvania in 2001. Such precision! Over 10 nights of observation, they found 29 dead bats, not all of which were the species in question.

The study does not say how the roughly 1 in 1,000 bats died, either. They just don't know. But it is not likely to have depleted the breeding stock.

I get what you are saying.But 1 feral pigeon is not equal to one raptor. Indeed, as I have said, it is not equal to 1,000 of those flying rats.

As for Indian Mynahs, they are an aggressive introduced pest which flock together and hassle the natives out of their territory. We have a local program here to trap and kill the buggers. It has met with considerable success.

Sep 6, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Careful how you spell "Mynahs", Johanna.

Sep 6, 2013 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

@ Radical Rodent, thank you for your reply, but you didn't explain what you think I need to explain.
Is it that you don't see how I obtained my results, or that you want me to say who committed the fraud, or something else?

Sep 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

Sleepalot, you gave a link to a matrix of numbers. While it is apparent that these are monthly readings relating to temperatures, it is not apparent if they are the actual readings, or readings relative to a base, nor how they might be faked.

The graph only has the appended “I think the f(x) is wrong,” with no explanation as to what f or x is. Remember, you are talking to folk like me, who may be completely outside your loop of knowledge and understanding.

Sep 7, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Johanna, apologies for not realising you live down under, my ESP is not what it was. Interesting election result though. I suspect the situations with your bird life are very different to ours, in my travels in the antipodes I had noticed that there were generally a lot less birds than in the UK, as well as fewer raptors. Our Red Kites and Buzzards are extremely common in the UK ( But not always so) Their massive increase has been attributed to many reasons, one of them being the ban on DDT. However, we have a drastic increase in raptors at the same time as we have wind farms being built, personally I don'y think there is any connection, but it's an interesting correlation. I'm not sure you can equate the quality of birds, a pigeon may not be as important as a Merlyn, but if it were a very rare pigeon, the situation would be different. As for Bats, my evidence was to show that bats are killed by traffic which you had doubted, if you want to quantify mortality rates, there is lots of good research papers and studies out there, but I think the point is proved that they do fall victim to traffic. Maybe you in turn can provide evidence that traffic mortality is minimal while Wind turbine kills are high? Essentially we live in two very different countries and our observations may be different. And that is why I am a sceptic, there is no black or white answer to anything, including climate change, wildlife mortality or politics. Our views depend on a whole host of issues which include our own biases and our own circumstance.

Sep 8, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarethman

With regard to the mortality of birds from man made objects I neglected to mention one of the most heartbreaking. The significant threat is the widespread and indiscriminate hunting of migratory birds in the Mediterranean. The avian death toll is staggering with annual mortality nearing a thousand million. On the Maltese Islands alone an estimated 4 million birds are killed each year, this includes approximately three million finches, half a million swallows and martins, half a million thrushes and 80,000 Eurasian Golden Orioles Oriolus oriolus. Also killed are protected raptor species such as the Red-footed Falcon and Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni. It's this sort of behaviour that is the real threat and makes wind turbines a really minor issue in bird protection. Having said that, it still does not make them economic in purely cost/profit terms.

Sep 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarethman

@ Radical Rodent: thanks for the reply. - it's very useful.
The table I produced is not of monthly averages, it's a difference table. I took monthly data for Uppsala from two sources (Crutem3 and Rimfrost) and subtracted one from the other. They diverge. They shouldn't.

Wrt to the f(x), sadly I'm operating outside my own knowledge, It's supposed to be the slope of the line, autocalculated by OpenOffice Calc., but I took it on faith at first. Aiui, y is a function of x, so if you take a value of x, you can calculate the coresponding value of y using f(x)=0x +0.9
(That's of the general form y=mx+c) "c" (0.9) is where the line crosses the (y?) axis, and m is the slope, but the slope is (has, I think, been rounded to) zero and clearly should not be.

Sep 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

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