World’s largest wind farm gets green light – but will it be the environmental success story MPs hope for?

The need for clear communication has never been greater when it comes to sustainable energy.

Billed as a significant environmental sustainability success story, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark MP has given the Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm, located 89 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast, the green light at the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate.

Sustainable energyThe decision has been praised in many quarters – Friends of the Earth welcomed the news as did Greenpeace and of course it is no surprise to see investor Dong Energy wax lyrical on the environmental benefits the wind farm development will bring, as well as high value jobs. It would also appear to constitute some much needed good news for British manufacturing and the steel industry in particular. And with such active environmental groups praising the decision, surely it must be a good thing?

Not everyone is happy of course. Defra specifically may have been less enthusiastic having recently proposed designating a 36,000 sq km area of the North Sea – which would have encompassed the entire wind farm site – as a special area of conservation to protect harbour porpoises.

And of course the debate which surrounds renewables and more particularly wind farms continues to rage, while uncertainty over nuclear projects – namely Hinkley Point C – continues to grow.

So, are wind farms really green? Are they better than nuclear? Are we missing the point? What about population growth and our increasingly energy intensive consumer lifestyles? Everyone it seems has different answers to the same questions and for those of us whose opinion has not yet become completely polarised, it is increasingly time consuming and difficult to wade through the misinformation in any serious attempt to arrive at an informed conclusion.

The real problem is that such confusion creates apathy and prevents people from engaging with a solution. Never was the need for transparent policy and clear communication greater.

And as Arthur Dent learned, having narrowly avoided the destruction of planet earth, the human race might have survived, had they only been able to understand the dolphins.

Perhaps it is time to listen to the porpoises.

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