Letters, January 6: Forget wind power, let’s go for water
Jan 6 2010 by Sarah Bull, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
WHEN you come to think about it, isn’t it odd that one major section of the world’s first industrial revolution should be found in the valleys of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Pennines?
These areas were remote, under-populated and such roads as then existed were even more appalling than they are now.
There were no navigable rivers and no easy access to the sea for transport. So why here, rather than, for example, in the far better-placed counties of East Anglia?
There is one answer to that question – and a one-word answer at that:Š Power!Š The only power available at that time (the early 1700s) was natural power. No steam, no internal combustion engine.
If today’s Greens had been around then the tilt hammers of the steel industry and the power looms and spinning frames of textiles would have been powered – intermittently – by wind.
But the early industrialists had more sense than to take the unreliable wind as their power source. They needed a reliable, natural source of power – and preferably one which could also be stored.
The world’s first Industrial Revolution was powered by water. Water power which can be tapped time and again as it flows down from the hills. Moreover, dams could be built to provide a daily back-up for any shortfall from the stream.
Here in the Holme Valley eight substantial reservoirs were planned in the high hills. These were compensation reservoirs – reservoirs of power and not of drinking water.
Three of the eight were built before the arrival of steam engines put the others on the back burner.
Some industries ignored the age of steam, preferring free energy from nature to paying for engines, fuel and labour to man them.
Brooks at Armitage Bridge retained the direct drive from their waterwheels until the time came for hydro-electric turbines to be installed to generate free electricity which is one reason why the firm has continued to thrive when almost all around have gone to the wall.
Why have we forgotten the first lesson of the Industrial Revolution which is that if you want natural power then water is the only reliable answer?
Neither wind nor sun is available 24/7.
So why do we rush to build windmills, providing them with such vast subsidies, while we allow all that wonderful power to fall into decay – compensation reservoirs used for drinking water, dams drained and goyts filled in, weirs pulled out?
This makes no sort of sense at all. Our water power is still there and could be brought back into far more productive life than any other form of natural energy – if only enthusiasm (and subsidies) could be switched from windmills.
No going back
UNCLE Grumpy of Golcar is at it again (Mailbag, December 29), having a go at anything in Huddersfield that is modern and wishing we were back in the ‘good old days’.
But what’s the use of keeping harping on about things that happened in the 1960s and 1970s when it should be remembered that most other towns were doing similar things?
This was the era when it was fashionable to replace the old with the new.
He, perhaps rightly, wishes the old Midland Bank building was back, but the present Midland Bank is a satisfying piece of modern architecture and the university’s new creative arts building, which he also criticises, has a striking contemporary presence. Inside, Phipps Hall and its fine atrium are very attractive as was proved during the Contemporary Music Festival.
As far as the Kingsgate Shopping Centre is concerned, it’s probably no better nor worse than most of its kind.
But any sizeable town wouldn’t want to be without one now and during the recent bad weather it’s been a good place for shoppers to keep warm and dry, even though they might balk at the cost of a £40 shirt in the sale at the House of Fraser!
Freedom to vote
I BELIEVE that Michael Howard was not up to the task of being the leader of the Conservative Party. No wonder, for it seems he does not understand democratic politics in the first place.
A vote for the political party should be based solely on their policies as opposed to those of other parties.
It is not democratic for all parties to align themselves against one party, the BNP, as Michael Howard suggested during a BBC programme – the same BBC that is funded by the British electorate.
It is for this same electorate to be free to vote for whom they judge will look after their interests and those of their families and their country in that order.
It is obvious that these are the core issues that concern most folk.
And I’m afraid Michael Howard and the entire establishment has lost touch with what is required of them from a large section of our society.
Condemning the BNP out of hand is no solution to the diabolical state that our people and once great industrial nation finds itself in at present.
I’D be more worried about Geoffrey Bloom’s comments (Mailbag, December 28) if the last three winters here and in the USA had delivered comfortable temperatures, but they have not.
And how many barbecue summers have we enjoyed this decade?
Mr Bloom may also have read alarming accounts of environmental scientists carefully selecting those figures which support their campaign and ignoring counter evidence.
Global warming is big business.
I FEEL I must bring to the notice of the authorities concerning the state of the roads in Longfield Avenue, Stratford Close, Warwick Avenue, Wyverne Road and Ryefield Road in Golcar.
Most of these roads have bungalows which are occupied by pensioners. The council has made no attempt whatsoever to clear these roads after the heavy snowfall.
The pensioners cannot get their cars out and risk falling is they attempt to walk to the shops.
I have spent Christmas visiting my wife in St James in Leeds and once I got away from our area heading towards the motorway I noticed all Longwood and Outlane roads were clear of snow.
As I write this letter, the roads are still very bad.
Why are we in this part of Golcar always left out when the snow falls?
Longfield Avenue, Golcar
Park and ride?
THE roads near Huddersfield town centre are getting very congested.
I think the authorities should consider park and ride schemes as is done in many other towns and cities in the country.
Playing fields (maybe Astroturf) could be used for parking.
J S Kennett
SO, once more our councillors are considering spending a ridiculous amount of money – on a statue for Bill Owen.
Bill who? Until he managed to get a part in Last of Summer Wine he was an unknown actor to many.
There have been better actors who have passed away from the programme, but we are not having statues of them.
Don’t forget that at the next elections we will not need reminding of the £5m spent in St George’s Square or you may be joining the unemployed.
Waste of our taxes
I’VE JUST read in the Examiner that Kirklees taxpayers will pick up the tab for Compo’s statue. Having a laugh, aren’t they?
What a total waste of taxpayers’ money. I find it disgusting that Kirklees Council can throw hard-earned money down the pan like this. Too much money and no sense.
If they think the waste of dosh if going to bring in lots of tourists into Holmfirth, then all I can say is ‘the lunatics have taken over the asylum!’
Didn’t we do well?
I just wanted to say how much I like the new Examiner Calendar.
The pictures are a nice size and beautifully reproduced. I had to go to some trouble to get it as the package was too big for my letterbox, but it was worth it.