Cornish miners once used wind power

The Skipper in his editorial "windmills are desecrating our beautiful county" (Packet, week ending May 28) has only painted part of the picture regarding the nuclear or renewable energy debate.

James Lovelock has highlighted what is really the main decision to be made regarding energy generation coupled with the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a major contributor to climate change. Lovelock's opinion that things have got so bad that the "small risks of nuclear power" are worth taking when weighed against the possible future catastrophes of climate change, "all the cities of the world now at sea level will be flooded," fails to show that Chernobyl (and Three Mile Island?) has brought home the stark reality that the risks of nuclear power are anything but small.

Indeed, if the Skipper got his way and sited a nuclear power station in a clay pit area and the worst case scenario happened, not only would the clay villages be devastated (Skipper has already written them off!) but the whole of Cornwall. Even if there were no disasters what would happen to the waste?

The UK is only now burying the waste from all our previous years of production. What about our beautiful coastline? The Irish sea is one of the most radioactive in the world due in no small part to the nuclear power stations sited along it. I can't see that increased levels of radiation will encourage visitors to come to Cornwall, even the most ardent of surfers would think twice before going into the water.

As for Cornwall "being further desecrated" by more windmills, the county was once full of windmills, used for a variety of sources including mining. Richard Trevithick used one at the Ding Dong mine. The earliest record for a wind turbine producing electricity appears to be in 1890 in Redruth so perhaps we should be embracing wind power as part of Cornwall's heritage!

It will be great to have windmills sited off shore but this, like most other renewables, will take time to develop properly. On shore windfarms are a proven technology that are quick to manufacture, install (unlike nuclear power which can take as long as 20 years to commission and get fully working) and pay for themselves. If we can come up with an answer for the energy crisis we are encountering then windfarms can simply be taken down with negligible impact on the environment. The same can not be said of nuclear or fossil fuel power stations.

Whether windmills are grotesque or not is a matter of opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I for one think these beautiful workhorses look fantastic and would much rather see them in the countryside than pylons, telecommunications masts or power stations.

Alec Rice, Community Team Manager, Community Energy Plus, The Setons, Tolvaddon Energy Park, Camborne