In my last blog entry I wrote about the planting of a new vineyard with a range of old varieties of vine. The parcel of land is part of the Peilhan vineyard and sad to say it is under threat together with the vineyard (Rec D’Oulette) which provides the Carignan grapes for the Flambadou cuvée, one of the most highly rated bottles of Mas Coutelou.
The threat comes from a plan by the company Quadran to plant 6 or 7 wind turbines on the plain behind the commune of Corneilhan. Ironically the village of Corneilhan will profit from the plan but is on the other side of a small hill from where the turbines will be situated, therefore the impact upon Corneilhan will be minimal unlike that upon neighbouring villages such as Pailhes and Puimisson whose residents will have to look at the turbines every day. Planning restrictions means that the turbines would have to be built on a stretch of land running across the area where Peilhan and RecD’Oulette are to be found.
Some neighbouring viticulteurs might be tempted to have a turbine on their land as they will receive a payment of 3000€ per megawatt per year created as compensation for not being able to produce wine from their vineyard. Jeff, and others, will not do so but the turbines will have a significant effect on the climate and terroir of his vineyards, if the project comes to fruition. Air turbulence, noise and the movement of the turbines will clearly alter growing conditions such as temperature and humidity but there are other consequences. Jeff has been working to provide biodiversity in the form of hedges, trees and plant life which shelter birds, bats and insects that provide a means of controlling vine pests such as ver de grappe and wasps. This helps to prevent the use of chemical pesticides and thus helps the environment. The presence of these ‘environmentally friendly’ turbines will undoubtedly upset the healthy ecosystem provided by these birds, bats and insects.
However, Jeff’s main concern is simply for the visual and auditory impact upon the area as a whole rather than just his personal loss. The area will be completely changed by the project and it does seem strange that they would build wind farms on agriculturally useful land rather than unproductive land elsewhere. It is ironic that so called green energy threatens the local environment. Without mentioning the threat to tourism which is economically important in the area.
In any case the best renewable energy is the one you don’t consume!
To show support for the people of the area as well as the vineyards you can sign this epetition now. I shall, of course, update with further news.
The fight begins..