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Sunday Telegraph: Polly saves the planet

Christopher Booker’s notebook
By Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:29am GMT 07/01/2007

The joy of that national institution Polly Toynbee, the Guardian columnist, is that she is so wrongheaded about everything that, if one is in two minds about any issue, one has only to consult her view to know that the opposite must be true.

Her latest outburst, headed “Nimbys can’t be allowed to put a block on wind farms”, rages against local councils that vote against the turbines we need to save the planet. Miss Toynbee clearly knows nothing about windpower, as she demonstrates by her claim that the 271 turbines Shell wants to build in the Thames estuary will “deliver 1,000 megawatts” of electricity, “enough to power a quarter of all London’s homes”.

They will do nothing of the kind. Shell will be very lucky to get an average of 300 megawatts from its giant wind factory. But even then someone will have to build another conventional power station, kept permanently running, ready to step in when the turbines decide not to turn. And since Miss Toynbee is, of course, passionately opposed to nuclear power, that means that whatever provides the backup will virtually negate any CO2 savings made by the windfarm.

“Every time I see those great white wings turning on the horizon,” intones the poet Toynbee, “it makes my spirits soar.” How easy it is to be a green, so long as one is careful to avoid looking at the facts. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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