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Image of Vox Populi - Voice of the PeopleMore power is being given to them through a new initiative to allow them a greater say in the siting of wind farms. The current government has pledged to listen to local residents more when proposals for new turbines are announced.

Whether the public will make the right, properly-informed decisions about whether any given wind farm should go ahead remains to be seen. What is certain is that an extended consultation period will slow the process of granting or denying planning permission which will be both problematical and expensive for developers. Indeed, companies planning wind farms could find themselves in a limbo of official inaction for years.

It is also certain that the radiocommunications industry is better educated than the public at large. Take 100 engineers and there will be significantly more than 100 university degrees between them; the same will not be true if you take 100 people randomly off the street.

So, does this mean that the radiocommunications industry should be consulted more widely and deeply than the more general public? Though let’s not forget that some people in this business helped make We Found Love the biggest-selling song of last year.

If our political overseers do extend consultation exercises with the engineering community, will that lead to the kind of paralysis that looks set to hold back wind farm development?

Journalists approaching a deadline often push each other with the phrase: “A bad decision is better than no decision.” They work on the basis that printing the world’s most poorly-written news story is preferable to have a gleaming, white hole on the front page.

While I am not advocating bad decisions from anybody in political power, like the rest of the industry ATDI likes to know where it stands and in what legislative framework it is working within. A benign dictator would be able to tell us. The only problem is that dictators rarely remain benign for very long.

Is, then, the price of democracy delay?

This opinion piece is part of Contact’s mission to encourage debate and is not necessarily the view of ATDI. Contact welcomes opinion articles and comment from anybody within the radiocommunications industry. If you want to contribute, just submit around 350 words to sarah.sasson@atdi.co.uk

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