Being someone who has environmental leanings, i have often found it rather disturbing that here in the UK, applications for wind turbines can be rejected with one of the main reasons being that people complain they will be able to see them. “I’ll be able to see them from my house!” “I’ll be able to see them on the hill over there, it’s just not right!” Yet mention to these same people that you can see the line of electricity pylons from their house, or that you can see lines of them across that same hill, and strangely enough, they don’t have a problem. “But they’ve been there for years, we’re used to them!”. They can’t seem to see how crazy that is. The fact we have sprawling cities, roads, railways, huge industrial areas etc, then surely wind farms can’t be any worse….can they?
To highlight this attitude people around DRAX coal fired power station, the largest in Britain, were asked about the wind farm built next to it. They complained about the wind farm, yet said the huge ugly power station was ok because they were used to it. Maybe if they give themselves a little time then they’ll get used to the wind turbines too, they’re certainly less ugly that a huge power station, and they don’t give out the pollution either.
Another irony is that houses are often placed right next to pylons, this despite the concerns they can cause cancer to those living nearby. Yet an application for a handful of wind turbines can be rejected mainly because someone will be able to see them from their house a couple of miles away, and of course, they may upset visitors to the area due their presence on the landscape, just like the pylons don’t!
The upshot of all this is that i started taking photos of pylons. Whilst the aim was to show how many there are in our countryside, especially around power stations, i gradually started to see them for the compositional value they can offer an image. The structure of them can also be quite interesting, especially if you get nice and close to them. So although they’re really quite ugly in the landscape, i have come to see them as a very attractive/interesting photography subject.
As an add on to reasons given for objecting to wind turbines, i think the funniest has to be against an application for just five on a hill (near a line of pylons) The local complainants claimed that people walking on a nearby footpath would feel like the blades were coming down to chop their heads off!