Back yards in paradise

‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’

Roberta Joan “Joni” Mitchell 1970

A contributor wrote:

“Unless there is compromise the warming of the planet will continue and Hardy’s Vale will not be protected and will change beyond recognition. Solar Energy is an important part of the energy mix and getting our carbon emissions down so I am afraid NIMBYS it has to happen in your back yard also.”.

SHV reply:


It’s always good to start with an agreement and common ground. As you say, global warming is indeed real, and ‘Hardy’s Vale’ will not be protected from its consequences. The process is already well underway, with more frequent ‘flash’ flooding and ecological change.   

You are also right that Solar has an important part to play in the UK’s low carbon energy mix.  I think we might also reach a third agreement, that Solar’s contribution dips at sundown! Of course, that’s just when we want to plug in the electric lorries that deliver our food and COVID vaccines.

To maintain our good run of agreement, let’s leave aside the contentious issues surrounding the carbon cycle and footprints of producing the Solar panels (China?) and shipping them here, and the thorny question of dismantling and recycling. 

I hope there will also be some common ground when it comes to offshore wind. The Government announced back last October that offshore wind will provide low carbon energy for all homes in the country by 2030. The Chancellor laid out the financial support for the offshore industry in last week’s Budget and repeated the Government’s target commitment. 

So, I wonder if we might also agree, that rather than take 188 acres of productive farmland out of the food production chain and harm our ‘health giving’ and  ‘visitor attracting’ protected landscapes (as the developer has said it will) that we will be much more effective at combating climate change by predominantly using offshore wind – which, as a bonus can, at times, produce energy 24 hours a day – and then be used, for example, to produce Hydrogen – something else we might be able to agree will be very important in the energy mix (along with Nuclear) in the future.

The Green Party and The Campaign to Protect Rural England (and many others) support using Solar on brownfield sites and close to where the energy is needed, and using our agricultural land for food.

You are right to be on the lookout for NIMBYs. All I will say is, if your back-yard was 188 acres of productive farmland surrounded by beautiful protected countryside, I would be very reluctant to suggest you ‘pave’ it over for 35 years, without first looking at the more effective ways to combat climate change, and efficiently produce the low carbon energy the country needs.

Very best wishes


How much energy is being produced now?

Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi (Official Lyric Video) – Bing video

© 2021

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