I live in Devon, and I run the Artists Against Wind Farms website, which is at the moment featuring the work of Shetland artist Paul Bloomer. His woodcuts express the sense of foreboding that many people feel about the windfarm proposed for the Shetland Islands.
I am also an artist, from an environmental background (my father is the environmental scientist James Lovelock). Many environmentalists, like my father, believe that the costs of industrial wind power to the environment far outweigh any benefits they might produce.
Here in North Devon we have had the 22 turbine Fullabrook windfarm imposed upon our countryside against the wishes of local people. These giant industrial structures now dominate our landscapes – they are visible even from Dartmoor, 25 miles or more to the south. Closer by, local residents are already suffering distress from wind turbine noise.
If 22 turbines (110m high) can change the face of Devon, what will 127 even larger turbines (145m) do to Shetland and to the people in the 75 houses within 2km of them? If our experience is anything to go by, there will be few parts of your main island where the turbines will not be visible.
To quote David Hockney, industrial wind turbines are “Big and ugly things” – out of scale with any landscape. Artists like Paul Bloomer, and others in the island, are right to protest about the proposed windfarm. It may not be possible to put a value on the beauty of the Shetland Islands, but destroying it with the proposed wind farm would be a tragedy. Tourists come to Shetland for its wild beauty, not to see a giant power station.