Most people who are concerned about fossil fuel dependency and the potential pitfalls of climate change will have greeted the news that the United Kingdom is to massively expand its off-shore wind generation capacity.
A series of massive sea zones off eastern Scotland, eastern England, Wales and the Irish Sea have been identified and if the plans for all the nine zones are progressed they could generate up to 32 gigawatts of power, a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs.
Within hours of the news being announced it was suggested shipping lanes between the Isle of Man and the UK may need to be re-routed which on the face of it is a small price to pay for cleaner energy and a ultimately a cleaner planet.
However let us be clear these proposals are for the United Kingdoms and once again the United Kingdom is demonstrating that when it comes to its interests it proceeds with scant regard for the impact its plans will have on its neighbours.
For well over half a century the UK has proceeded with an energy policy which seems to regard the Irish Sea as a resource which is the soul preserve of its people.
Its initial and disastrous nuclear policy from the 1950s onwards produced a consequence of nuclear pollution we still live with to the extent that the Irish Sea is still the most polluted stretch of open sea on the planet. Radioactive contaminants were casually discarded into its waters until the alarm bells rang as waters as far away as Norway and the Arctic were contaminated
Just months ago the UK announced the construction of a new generation of nuclear plant some to be sited at sites around the Irish sea where the current ageing generation of plants have pumped out pollution and been a clear and present danger for generations. There was no consultation by the UK with its neighbours and as with all Britain’s plans to meet its energy needs the views of adjacent countries such as Mannin and Ireland play second fiddle. The new plants we are told will be `cleaner’ but there is no guarantee of this and they `will’ still produce contaminants not at present there.
The United Kingdom needs to be challenged over its cavalier attitude in these matters. There may, as with the wind farm plans, be considerable merit it what it is doing but it does need to pay due cognisance of the views of others.
It is the `Irish Sea’ a common natural resource the management of which is entrusted to those who live around it and which should be secured for future generation. It is not the sole preserve of the UK to do what it wishes and damn the rest of us!
Article with list of new wind farm sites here: