Locals Support Hackney Marshes Wind Turbine

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 100 months ago
Locals Support Hackney Marshes Wind Turbine

2110_turbine.jpg Last October, Hackney council ran a public consultation to grill locals on whether they wanted to see a 120m-high wind turbine erected on Hackney Marshes.

The results are in, and it seems NIMBYism has yet to rear its conservative hackles out east London way: 87% of respondents were in favour of the proposal. Mayor Jules Pipes, citing the power of the people, said that it was up to residents to decide whether or not the project should go ahead, and that after such a positive outcome, the Council would now look at the next stages to "make the idea a reality".

The survey broke down as follows: 33.8% supported the turbine if it could provide green electricity for Hackney, 53.5% supported it regardless of where the electricity was used, and only 12.6% opposed it under any circumstances. However, only 700 people out of Hackney's 200,000+ residents voted, so the turbine might not enjoy the broad support that Pipes assumes.

Waltham Forest and the Olympic Delivery Authority are already pressing ahead with another turbine on nearby Eton Manor.

Last Updated 26 January 2010


Excellent. But the low number of voters does kind of scupper the legitimacy. And these things are always swayed by who's asking the questions. I bet if the anti-lobby had presented exactly the same questions, but while wearing 'say no!' sashes, voters would have tended the other way.

Still, the windswept marshes seem like a reasonable place to site these turbines. Makes me wish I was a kid again - 'see who can hoof the football into the blades' would have been exactly the kind of game I'd have relished.


The case for the Turbine is bogus!
Here is just part of the case against it

1) The site for the Turbine is Common Land, control of land will be handed over to a private interest energy company or companies.

2)The Turbine could be sited anywhere else and the energy transmitted by cable to Hackney in the normal way.

3) A series of smaller turbines would generate the same energy without dominating the skyline.

4) Hackney Marshes and the greater Lea-Marshes still provide an experience of a rural environment in close proximity to very dense housing conurbations. The open horizens and 'big sky' are a key element of this. A towering structure, combined with large-scale housing developments through the Lea Marshes will destroy this

5) Mental Health Problems are suffered by very large numbers of people in the borough, and Depression is
now being recognised aa a much more widespread problem than previously recorded. Recovery from these conditions along with M.E. and a whole variety of stress related illnesses is improved when sufferers have the opportunity to enjoy the experience of an outdoor natural, semi-rural environment.

6) The leisure and recreation opportunities of this open space have barely begun to be developed by schools & other learning groups. A small sample study by University College London in the adjacent housing estate revealed that children and play-workers have no experience of, and know almost nothing about 'cost free' types of play and recreation in natural free-space.

7) While many are content to use their Motor Cars to take their children to the sea-side or other wide-open spaces, the people who cannot afford to travel are not being informed of the benefits that lie on their doorstep. The majority of Hackney residents know very little about the marshes other than the football pitches. The council seems content to reinforce this narrow idea.

The choice between football and the environment is a cruelly false one. It disguises the take-over of common land by private companies. It plays on people's capacity to surrender something for the greater good. For shades of things to come, go to Millfields Recreation Ground, E5, and see the land grab being carried out by the National Grid and EDF by their redeveloped power station.

The is a lot more to Hackney Marshes than football. They are part of the greater Lea Marshes, a semi rural space with wide horizens and open skies existing in close proximity to very dense housing conurbations. This space is threatened on all sides and is about to be cut through by high-rise housing developments, courtesy of Waltham Forest Council. Wind Turbines are iconic, beautiful and powerful political symbols, but, just like the Statue of Liberty, siting and context are everything. This turbine could be an albatross around the neck of the green movement for generations to come.

If Hackney schools were teaching children the pleasures and the meaning of the enjoyment of the countryside, those same children would eventually be spending more time outdoors and less time indoors with the heating thermostat at maximum while they play at 'virtual outdoors' electronic games. This policy would also fit with the Government 'Horizens' project. This scheme aims to reduce personal depression among the adult population by ensuring that children have meaningful emotional experiences.
There are no fast profits to be had, and there are limited political gains in the quiet enjoyment of natural free-space; perhaps there are some healthy gains, though, for the ecology and well-being of our shared world and a growth in direct knowledge of its precious fragility.