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« Scottish Power on cost of green policies | Main | Climategate revisited »

Lost Horizons

Ben Pile's new film on windfarms has been released. Colour me very impressed. Phillip Bratby features early on.

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Reader Comments (76)

How embarassing, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

Oct 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Phillip, you spoke very well indeed.

Oct 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

A fine piece of work. Sharp images. Calmly stated views - but also sharp ones. May they pierce many bubbles of ignorance or flummery on this topic!

Oct 31, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Christine Lovelock is Prof James Lovelock's daughter and a member of "Artists Against Wind Turbines".

Oct 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Very good. There might have been more about the fact that, on balance, wind turbines probably increase rather than reduce CO2 emissions, the whole at hideous cost. Ditto, I am fairly sure that given the apparent average age of those interviewed, the more smug of the liberal/green elite (another way of saying all of them) will airily dismiss them as typical white male dinosaur types, Christine Lovelock excepted of course. But on the whole, cogent, coherent and compelling.

How can it be more widely aired? How is it being aired, in fact?

Oct 31, 2012 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Agouts: It's at You can go there and leave your comments. It will be being distributed by EFD.

Oct 31, 2012 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Well done Phillip.
Environmental vandalism for no conceivable benefit.
Sadly, I suspect it will be viewed by those of us already convinced of the scientific illiteracy of our politicians and the 'green' movement.

Oct 31, 2012 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterG.Watkins

What a brilliant summary of the problems with wind energy. Here in Mid Wales 5 large industrial wind factories are proposed increasing the number of turbines from 400 at present to 800, all of which are now going to a Public Inquiry and if all or any of them are passed our narrow, winding roads will be gridlocked on 150 days a year for the next 8 years whilst the components are transported on our narrow roads.

The Atlantic Array is an abomination and I sincerely hope it never gets permission but spare a thought for us in Mid Wales who will be imprisoned in our homes whilst the turbines are built and those who live within sight of them will not be able to sell their homes to escape the noise and may well suffer from sleep deprivation etc. The nightmare is only just beginning.

Jenny Keal

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenny Keal

Ah yes, Shangri-La, the land where people stay young and beautiful for hundreds of years! Not working so well for the egregious (and lying through her teeth - anyone else see her on the BBC News channel today?) Caroline Lucas [who looks almost as bad as George Darkside-Lucas.

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I found it interesting that near the end of the video, the presenter Steve Crowther used the phrase "enough is enough". This is identical to the phrase reported to have been used by UK Government Minister John Hayes in his attack on wind farms yesterday.

I wonder if Hayes has seen this video?

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Scottie - I noticed that too. My first thought was that they must have made the film bloody quickly!

Phillip - good to put a face to the name. I wondered if Christine Lovelock was related to the Prof. - thank you for confirming.

A very impressive production and very well presented, IMO. Well done Ben Pile, Steve Crowther and all concerned. Should be compulsory viewing in Whitehall...

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:43 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Nicely done.

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris S

Nice one Ben ... and Steve Crowther being such a scruffy bugger makes him much more accessible to the casual viewer than a talking head in a suit.

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

BTW, the Navitus (=Christchurch) Bay array is briefly on hold while the promoters assembly realistic 'artist's impressions', the previous ones having been a tad, er, optimistic. Lies, in other words.

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


"on balance, wind turbines probably increase rather than reduce CO2 emissions"

Since that is their professed (and only) raison d'étre, I think it is the point to make the most fuss about. I agree entirely about the noise, appearance, distribution problems, etc, but if it can be clearly demonstrated that they don't fulfil their primary purpose, then what are they for?

Oct 31, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

jamesp: We know the evidence is out there that because of the back-up and its inefficient operation, there may be no emissions reductions. The Government admits it has no evidence that emissions are reduced. But who in this or the previous Government is ever going to admit that 20+ years of policy, the waste of billions of our money, the ruination of the landscape and the misery of thoudsands of people has all been based on nothing more than an assumption rather than any evidence?

Oct 31, 2012 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Well done Ben and the cast. Finally the case for protecting the environment has been made. The issue of the impacts on local tourism and jobs was also good to see. Why do the BBC and MSM still ignore this debate? Local people concerned about their environment and key industries.

BTW I'm off to the Energy Live Conference in Westminster tomorrow. Any questions for Ed Davey and Caroline Flint?

Oct 31, 2012 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterFay Kelly-Tuncay

Excellent production, and Philip you spoke very well.

Oct 31, 2012 at 7:26 PM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

Great film - high production values (thanks to accessible modern tech)... the sort of report we would have seen on the BBC a decade or two ago. My only criticism is that the arguments of some of the interviewees boarder on NIMBYism in places.

Oct 31, 2012 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Absolutely brilliant. I'm deeply moved, because I have such great memories of that stretch of Somerset and Devon coast. Cherry picking? Serve them right for the typical deceitfulness of calling it the Atlantic Array rather than the Lundy Array or something much more accurate like that.

Phillip, you were brilliant, very fluent, it's not an easy area for the layman to understand - and I did some software modelling for the National Grid at one stage. I thought it was genius of Ben to start the difficult material with you, then go to Godfrey Bloom MEP saying that most politicians have never run a business and don't have a clue about the complexities of this stuff. Who wouldn't believe him.

Precisely for that reason I don't have any problem with it being a procession of greybeards. That's entirely as it should be. It's beautifully made and that will appeal to the thinking young person who is being brought up on YouTube - and there are some big positives about that by the way. And the point about surfing being so affected will really get to the younger generation - my son included. Thank you.

As for Christine Lovelock, she's a media natural and what a name to use to say that wind power isn't going to save the world as it hardly saves any CO2 emissions, if any. That point was made at the end, in case people missed it. It didn't need to be overemphasised because one gets into quibbling about very small deltas either way and that detracts from the big picture.

I think I'm now have to come to the second Oxford pub meet just to buy Ben Pile a drink. Terrific mate.

Oct 31, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Extremely well done gentlemen, and ladies, one would hope that it could be followed up with interviews with locals at other planned sites expressing similar concerns. Once the extent of national concern is realised by those expecting re-election in a couple of years then we may see some official change in policy.

Oct 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook


Oct 31, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Well done Philip, eloquently spoken and easy to understand for the layman like me.

Thank you.

Oct 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

New Horizons, oddly enough, I felt the thing had the feel of the old BBC Horizon documentaries. Excellent.

I agree with all the other comments here, especially Agouts comment about wanting to see a bit more about the costs and the lack of CO2 saved when you consider gas backup.

Two other issues might have been made more of – the impact of new transmission lines in terms of damage to landscape, cost and loss of energy due to the distances from where the electricity is needed. The other thing to emphasise is impact on wildlife, birds and marine mammals. I believe the Bristol channel is a major sea bird destination and I can’t help thinking the vibrations from wind towers must be deafening for dolphins. Those concepts would appeal to greenies.

One last thing, it’s often worth repeating your best facts and figures at the end so that the viewer remembers them and can tell his or her mates down the pub.

Of course I am just nit picking, it was great already.

Oct 31, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Bum, meant to write 'Lost Horizons'.

Oct 31, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Lest we forget.

Oct 31, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Was it really so impressive? For a propaganda film about wind turbines, which everyone knows are horrendously noisy, they could at least have had Ms Lovelock straining to be heard above the noise of the blades. As it was, the soft spoken lady and the twittering birds managed to drown them out quite effectively - it was difficult to hear the turbines although they were standing right underneath one!

And about spoiling the horizon, how often can you see 9 miles out to sea? And is it worth the bother? Sea views are only interesting if there happens to be something out there to see; boats, clouds, anything. The flat sea is dull! People don't go to devon to see flat seascapes. They might go to see the wind farm, but as it might be hard to see they might be disappointed.

If it wasn't propaganda, then where was there any attempt at balance? Nothing about the cost of gas; nothing about pumped storage; nothing about demand management.

Oct 31, 2012 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

dripping with irony:

30 Oct: BBC: Scottish green energy target set at 50% of demand by 2015
Alex Salmond revealed the target at the RenewableUK conference in Glasgow...
But last week the Scottish government was attacked for failing to meet its own climate change targets in 2010, according to the latest official figures...
***At Holyrood, Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse blamed "exceptional cold snaps" among other factors for missing the target. But opposition politicians said the SNP had resorted to blaming the weather instead of their record on climate change...
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of the Holyrood energy committee, said: "The biggest problem with the SNP's renewable energy target is that it's completely underpinned by wind power.
"Not only is that an unreliable and intermittent source, but it's led to turbines blighting communities across the whole country."

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Ben, Philip, and others involved, thank you for that excellent film. I spent my youth on the Gower coast and that view is a very precious one. It's quite clear that the proposed array would be a major blot on the horizon, and very very visible most of the time. That it's even being thought of is simply madness.

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad


Chris Heaton-Harris MP is asking for support. Please follow this link to his campaign
'Together Against Wind':

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterFay Kelly-Tuncay


how often can you see 9 miles out to sea?

Frequently, that's why lighthouses are so tall. A selection of visibilities from the first chart to hand:

Dungeness 17 miles
Beachy Head 16 miles
St Catherine's Point 17 miles
Cap Barfleur 22 miles
Cap d'Antifer 27 miles

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:40 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought


Not to mention Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach:

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone.

That would be Cap Gris Nez, flashing, every 5 secs, 22 miles.

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:48 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Just watched some BBC commisar on News at Ten stating that wind power was the cheapest form of

How can we stop these lies?

Oct 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Dreadnought, yes but that is not what I meant. I lived for a long time in the London suburbs and on a good day one could see the Post Office tower in central London, ten miles away. But more often than not it was too hazy to see. OK that was London where the air is not so clear, but visibility does vary even at the seaside.

Oct 31, 2012 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Is anyone else having trouble viewing this? I just get a black screen in both firefox and IE.

Oct 31, 2012 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterCan't view

"Is anyone else having trouble viewing this? I just get a black screen in both firefox and IE."
Just checked Can't View still works fine for me.
Maybe a reboot required?

Oct 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Great work. Thanks.

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes


Of course visibility at sea varies, but it is a fine clear night in Normandy and Cherbourg is reporting visibility of 30 nautical miles.

Bonne nuit et bons vents.

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:29 AM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

try harder bitty - your latest efforts have been risible...ask J Bowers for help - he is always good at providing arguments that miss the point.

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

how extraordinary! Bitty claims that he once lived in London. Mosty of the time he claims not to know anything about the UK. How can I reconcile his lies in my mind?

Amnswer....just ignore him. he never says anything that is either factual or interesting.

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Wonderful film. Well done, all hands.

Nov 1, 2012 at 1:11 AM | Registered CommenterMique

"If it wasn't propaganda, then where was there any attempt at balance? Nothing about the cost of gas; nothing about pumped storage; nothing about demand management."
But it was propaganda BB. What's sauce for the MSM must surely be sauce for the Gander.
Or are you just bleating that only your side should be allowed to produce propaganda?
So, 10:10, blow up the sceptics is OK.
Is it the disparity of funding betwixt those that 'are on your side' v 'those that aren't' the root of your issues?
You demand balance but provide none.
That I can understand from a zealot; belief is a powerful force but when you confuse facts with fiction by bringing up the 'cost of gas', pumped storage and demand management as if 'your side' utilised such hard-facts to prop up your stance then, I for one, am at a loss to remember when!
Personally I enjoyed this video. Yes it was too soft, at times, at bringing the deficiencies of wind-power to the for but, at least, it was free of the hate-filled content that made me suspicious of the motives of the AGW disciples and led me to investigate this whole sad and sorry episode.

Nov 1, 2012 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Excellent. I shared it on Facebook and suggest others do the same.

Nov 1, 2012 at 2:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Roy, you say, "You demand balance but provide none.", but I demanded nothing. I merely noted the lack of noise, doubted the value of empty sea views and asked a question, as you quoted ("If it wasn't propaganda, then..."). And you answered that clearly: "But it was propaganda BB.". So that is clear. Readers/viewers should be aware, if they were not already, that the film had no intention of telling them the truth.

Nov 1, 2012 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Perhaps because I have been out of the country and see things differently, I felt it not make best use of the budget and facilities it obviously had at its disposal.

Whilst it does not have to use brain dead, fatuous media studies graduates, I felt it was too "bearded, beer gut, real ale at same stool in the pub for the last 15 years". In other words reactionary.

Bitbucket, I would love to sit next to you watching the news? Do you foam at the mouth and throw the remote every time some piece of propaganda floats across the space? Or do you only apply this for sceptics?

Propaganda: information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

This is not true. True propaganda is to reinforce a position of power. This is a counter balance to those with the power. In your world anyone issuing a pamphlet against the Völkischer Beobachter would be accused of propaganda.

This is a Pamphlet, nothing more.

Nov 1, 2012 at 5:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket


In your world anyone issuing a pamphlet against the Völkischer Beobachter would be accused of propaganda.

Wow. Well said that man. (And such pamphlets were desperately needed, as the VB first broached dealing with the Jews with an 'iron broom' using concentration camps. 1920 was that? Before the Nazi party had even been named and the rag was owned by the Thule Group? That line of thought would have been worth nipping in the bud.)

I know what you're saying here too:

Whilst it does not have to use brain dead, fatuous media studies graduates, I felt it was too "bearded, beer gut, real ale at same stool in the pub for the last 15 years". In other words reactionary.

But, for myself, I felt Ben was dead right to use the best people he had. There are two Englands/UKs on show here - one notably marked by its absence. But we have to start where we are. The main presenter (and I forgot to say this earlier) was of the type you describe (I hope he'll forgive me) but, crucially, genial and friendly, not foaming-at-the-mouth "Outraged of Tunbridge Wells". I thought he and the 'feel' of the piece were brilliant. But I also think you are right to raise this dissenting opinion, because it's worth deeper thought.

Nov 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard, I would never criticise a Pamphleteer. It takes something to do something like that. Always has.

Just as a way of positive criticism, here is what I would have included. A 50 year Dad and his Son, cycling/surfing/sailing. Perhaps one pair from each side of the British Channel. The Dad explaining the concerns has for his sons inheritance of the environment. The Son explaining his concerns but with a real grounding of the issues.

The people in the film had a clear love of the environment. I just wanted to see a more broad picture of society.

Mamils (middle aged men in lyrca) should be one of the main target groups for this film. I did no think it reflected that.

Just some constructive criticism. As a pamphlet it was good, I just felt it did not reflect current society.

Nov 1, 2012 at 6:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

I thought the technical stuff was excellent, but the NIMBY message was too strong. I find the turbines quite moving in a strange way. I can see the biggest wind farm in Europe, Whitelee from near my house. My problem is that the whole enterprise is based on a pack of lies.

On the Nazi theme, Whitelee is built very close to Eaglesham where extreme environmentalist Rudolf Hess crashed his plane on 10 May 1941. He had arranged to meet the Duke of Hamilton in the belief that the aristocracy could negotiate British support for the German the invasion of Russia a month later. Their descendants are the amongst the most enthusiastic environmentalists today.

Nov 1, 2012 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Look at this map of current and proposed turbines -and weep for our country.

Nov 1, 2012 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I can see where Jiminy is coming from, but look at it another way. Who outside Westminster and the vested interests are actually pushing/supporting the 'green' cause. It is the older, semi retired group, those who go to council meetings, who run the local 'transition' groups etc while the rest of us are trying to bring home some bacon and put shoes on our children's feet. That group is actually one you can talk too, and have to talk to, since they're only hearing one message at the moment.

I showed the clip of Philip's explanation of grid issues to my wife who said it showed her a very clear (and concerning) picture of what the problem is. I believe that getting that short film in front of people will be extremely useful. No reason not to address the other audiences either mind.

Another thought - various parts of that film could be used 'standalone' to make short points to other groups, without having to sit through the whole thing.

Nov 1, 2012 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

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