Week 7

Examples of adaptation in the built environment

(Running a little behind here.) At some point, in response to a course activity to ‘photograph a building or part of an urban landscape that indicates a design that is adapted to a changing climate (particularly wetter winters, higher summer temperatures and more extreme weather)’ I will put a photograph here of the new apartments on the edge of the River Camel in Wadebridge.

Although Wadebridge is a few miles inland from the sea itself, the Camel is tidal, so the risk comes from high tides combined with an already high river level. The apartment blocks are built behind flood defences, but in addition the ground floor is given over to car parking space and garages. The living accommodation starts the next floor up, so even if the flood defences are over-topped, the damage will be minimal. It is worth noting that Wadebridge has had three severe flood warnings from the Environment Agency in the last month; fortunately the defences proved sufficient.

Why haven’t I put the photo up yet? It is raining too hard to go out and take one just at the moment.

Not in my back yard

I like the reflection, made by Sherman Tan of Singapore, that your back yard might be someone else’s country, and vice versa. I hadn’t thought of it like that before, though events such as Chernobyl ought to have made it clear.

There is an organisation called ‘Cornwall Protect’ ( http://www.cornwallprotect.org ) which ‘is an initiative set up to warn people of the threat facing Cornwall’s Landscape from Wind Turbines’ to quote from its website. It claims to campaign ‘for common sense over wind and solar planning in Cornwall’. It does indeed run campaigns against specific wind farm proposals. However, so far as I can see, every wind farm proposal is a specific one to be opposed. Its ‘technology’ page is a general complaint that wind power is intermittent, unreliable and unnecessary, with a selective use of statistics familiar from climate change deniers as seen in earlier weeks of the course. I met some of the people at a demo in Truro a few months ago. ‘We are not opposed to renewable energy,’ they said, ‘but…’ I was waiting for the ‘but’. However, they also made great complaint about the planning system, which did not listen to them – Professor Patrick Devine-Wright’s point about ‘procedural justice’. There may be argument about whether ‘did not listen to us’ means the same as ‘did not do what we wanted’, but at the very least if there is procedural justice, it removes a reason for complaint.

From the website, I was forced to the conclusion that for Cornwall Protect, ‘common sense’ would seem to mean ‘no wind turbines’.

The final thing to note is that the website is entirely anonymous. On the ‘About us’ page, on the ‘Contacts & links’ page, on all the pages I looked at, not a single member is named, not even the president, or chairperson, or secretary, or treasurer. Not very confidence-inspiring, you might think, or even a bit underhand? Who pays for this? What are their connections? Are there ulterior motives? I’m all for open discussion and argument, bit it’s hard to do it with an anonymous, secretive organisation.

One thought on “Week 7

  1. Bang on with “general complaint that wind power is intermittent, unreliable and unnecessary, with a selective use of statistics familiar from climate change deniers as seen in earlier weeks of the course” –

    I did some work a few years ago looking into the source of the very dubious claims being made about wind energy – there was a spate of think tank reports from Adam Smith, Civitas – can’t remember all of them off hand – but it looked suspiciously like all of them were taking their cues from “The Renewable Energy Foundation” – founded by none other than Mr Blobby himself Noel Edmunds – with sources like that you can’t go wrong!

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