A national alliance of over 30 local community action groups has been formed in the UK in an attempt to reduce the impact on the countryside of wind farms and to challenge what its members see as the ruthless actions of wind farm developers anxious for quick profits at the expense of the taxpayer.

The new group – to be known as the National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups (NAWAG) – brings together community organisations from England, Scotland and Wales to oppose the financial power of wind farm developers, who it says are rushing to capitalise on the public subsidies that sweeten the construction and operation of turbines.

The launch members of NAWAG intend to recruit as many as possible of the estimated 200-plus local action groups in existence across Britain, to “create a powerful and authoritative voice for communities in the face of the highly resourced pro-wind lobby.”

NAWAGl campaign is intended to push a range of concerns, including the adverse visual impact of inappropriately sited turbines, the health and amenity impacts of turbines being built too close to homes and places of work, in relation to which it argues for a 2km exclusion zone, the threat to habitats and wildlife from turbines, especially to bats and birds, and what it calls the the ‘cowboy’ techniques of wind farm developers looking to force turbines on communities. It also wishes to highlight the drawbacks of wind power, such as its inconsistent level of supply to the national grid and the potential damage to tourism jobs from wind farms.

The emergence of the group comes in response to a spate of controversial planning applications for new build on beauty spots throughout the UK and following reports that affected communities are now being increasingly ‘worn down’ by ruthless developers who submit repeated planning applications, securing permission through a process of attrition.

An initial focus of the group’s activities will be its engagement with the Conservative Shadow Cabinet, many of whose members actively oppose wind farm developments in their home constituencies.

Commenting of the launch of the organisation, Jon McLeod, Chairman, said: “For too long, the ‘greenwash’ of the wind industry has gone unchallenged, and that stops today. As anyone who has come up against the pro-wind lobby will tell you, behind wind power’s ‘cuddly’ image lies a cynical and harsh reality. Communities up and down the country are simply not prepared to stand by and let our landscape be disfigured by wind turbines that will do little or nothing to stop climate change, less still secure our energy supply.”