Wind turbines 'could be disguised as giant flowers'

Wind farms could be given a dramatic facelift to turn the turbines into works of modern art. Artist Alec Finlay, who was appointed artist in residence at the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Northumberland, has designed some artistic additions to spruce up the appearance of wind turbines.

His plans, developed with the centre, include disguising the windmills as giant flowers, adding poetry to the blades, and building small sculptures around the masts.

He has already added his poetry to two turbines, at the Kielder Observatory in Black Fell, Northumberland, and the Science Learning Centre in Durham.

He said he hoped his designs would change the way people think about wind turbines. "They are something that people have strong feelings about," he said.

"Some people hate them, but actually a lot of people love them. I think they are used as a symbol for good.

"I think they represent progress and a vision of social and environmental change."

While there are no plans to roll out the designs on the nation's wind farms, a spokesman for the New and Renewable Energy Centre said he hoped the blueprints would help people understand more about wind turbines.

"We hired the artist to do something a little bit different," he said. "He has made a couple of little models, but there's been no agreement so far, and no concrete plans to build them."

But wind farm opponents warned against any plans to decorate the turbines.

Derek Smibert, from the North Northumberland Tourism Association, called for a consultation with local people before any changes to their appearance were made.

"It would cost a lot of money. It depends on where they are. I think some of them would distract from the beauty of the countryside," he said.

"If they want to do something to improve their appearance, it's all to the good."

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