In London, as in Paris, the show must go on

Posted

05/06/2017

Author

Richard Heap

In London, as in Paris, the show must go on

In November 2015, the WindEurope annual conference took place in Paris three days after terrorists killed 130 people in the city, including 89 at the Bataclan theatre. We wrote at the time that it was right for the event to go ahead. The world, and wind, cannot stand still.

That was true of Paris just 19 months ago, and it is true of London now.

This week, WindEurope and RenewableUK are set to host their Offshore Wind Energy 2017 conference in London. It starts three days after terrorists killed seven people and wounded 48 in an attack on the bustling hub of London Bridge on Saturday night. This comes just one week after a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured 59 at a concert in Manchester; and little over two months since an attack on Westminster Bridge that killed five and injured 49. 

“It is difficult to believe we are facing a similar situation again,” said the statement from the organisers yesterday, as they announced that the conference would happen as planned. We agree with both their sentiment and their decision. Terrorist attacks are scary, of course, but our risk of being harmed in one is small. Those of us in cities continue to live with this risk. 

That means going about business as usual as far as we can: undaunted, uncowed and in the knowledge that the statistics are overwhelmingly in our favour.

Yes, it is about showing our solidarity with others, but it is about more than that. Events like OWE 2017 help us to make a better future for ourselves and the world. There are deals to be done, jobs to be created, and an industry to be celebrated. Offshore wind has made huge strides in the last 12 months. We can’t let a few pathetic extremists detract from that. 

And, if the move towards using renewable energy sources can help to limit any man-made aspects of climate change, then that could make a contribution in reducing any upheaval that leads to disputes over resources, mass migration and, yes, terrorism. That’s the hope.                         

It is easy – trite even – to say we cannot let these attacks affect us. It is tougher in practice, and we can understand any reticence from those set to attend this week. We have partners and children, friends and families, who we want to see when we get home on Thursday. This desire to be safe will likely make us a little warier in busy public places, as we were in Paris.

But that does mean we will not use these places. I’m a Londoner, and I didn’t stop using the Tube the day after terrorists attacked the system on 7 July 2005. So be wary if you have to, and we look forward to seeing you at what promises to be an interesting event.