Countryfile – Another Letter the Shropshire Star Didn’t Print

Countryfile – Another Letter the Shropshire Star Didn’t Print

We all know that Star Newspapers is – shall we say – less interested in our views  than those of climate sceptic William Cash, whose main claim to fame appears to be that having left the Conservatives for UKIP he’s now leaving UKIP for the Conservatives (that got a full page article, so it must be important). This lack of interest surfaces from time to time in the choice of letters published in their columns.

On 17 February the South Shropshire Journal published a letter from one Dave Haskell, accusing the BBC’s Countryfile programme of bias.  Heaven forbid, they had appeared to suggest that wind turbines weren’t that much of a problem, whereas Mr H pointed out they killed thousands of birds; not just any old bird either; wonderful majestic birds like golden eagles.

We did some research and sent it to the Journal, who didn’t think it worth printing.  So here it is:

Poor old Countryfile, accused of bias over bird deaths and wind turbines (SSJ, 17 Feb). Let’s check..

In one year, the 4,000 wind turbines in California killed 67 golden eagles. In Spain, 252 turbines placed (rather stupidly) right in the migratory path of many large birds killed 124 in a year, and another 256 turbines did for 30 griffin vultures and 12 common kestrels.

These figures come from Carbon Brief and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, whose researches show that in the USA in 2009 wind farms killed about 20,000 birds. But nuclear plants killed about 330,000 and fossil fuelled power plants killed 14 MILLION (cars killed 60-80 million, pesticides 70 to 90 million and cats over 365 million). Taken together, coal, oil and gas power stations are 17 times more dangerous than wind and nuclear power stations per gigawatt of electricity produced. So it’s much better to have wind power than other forms of generation.

The RSPB supports wind power, not because wind farms pose a lower risk to birds than other energy sources, even though they do. The RSPB says “Climate change poses the single greatest threat to birds and other wildlife”; it will harm breeding and migration patterns and alter their habitats. Wind turbines help against climate change, and there are ways to minimise their danger to birds.

So Countryfile is not biased. But where did Dave Haskell get his views? I’m guessing it was either Donald Trump or the Daily Mail, neither of which let the facts get in the way of a good anti-renewables headline.

…and just in case we’ve libelled William Cash, or Star newspapers, or Donald Trump, or the Daily Mail, we’re sorry!