The Energy Secretary is in favour of wind farms. The Energy Minister is against them. So who will win the fuel fight?

 

Whitehall Editor

A A A

The Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey was today forced to publically rebuke his Conservative deputy for claiming that the Government would veto the development of more on-shore windfarms.

In a sign of the growing Coalition tensions over investment in renewables Energy Minister John Hayes appeared to announce there would be no further expansion of onshore wind developments in a newspaper interview saying “enough is enough”.

But this morning he was slapped down by Mr Davey, who said there had been “no change” to Government policy.

“Onshore wind is one of the cheapest renewables, which is why we've been able to cut the subsidy. It has an important role to play in our energy future,” Mr Davey said.

Mr Hayes has long been known to be an opponent of further onshore wind farms and his appointment to the energy brief in last month’s reshuffle was seen as an attempt by David Cameron to appease Tory backbenchers who are also opposed to increasing development.

Mr Davey was reportedly so concerned about his views on the issue that he acted to limit his responsibilities.

In comments reported today, Mr Hayes said wind farms could no longer be “imposed on communities”.

“I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land,” he said.

“We have issued a call for evidence on wind. That is about cost but also about community buy-in.

“We need to understand communities' genuine desires. We will form our policy in the future on the basis of that, not on a bourgeois left article of faith based on some academic perspective."

He insisted only a minority of proposed wind turbines were needed to meet green targets set by the Government.

"If you look at what has been built, what has consent and what is in the planning system, much of it will not get through and will be rejected. Even if a minority of what's in the system is built, we are going to reach our 2020 target. I'm saying enough is enough."

The minister said new research on wind turbines would make a far wider assessment of their impact on the rural landscape and property prices.

“I have asked the planning minister to look again at the relationship between these turbines and the landscape,” he said.

"It seems extraordinary to have allowed them to be peppered around the country without due regard for the interests of the local community or their wishes."

It is understood that the remarks were contained in a draft of a speech Mr Hayes had intended to give last night.

After Mr Davey's office saw the draft, however, Mr Hayes was told it was not acceptable and he should not give it. The content then appears to have ended up in the Daily Mail.

Mr Hayes was understood to returning this morning from Scotland to hold discussions with Mr Davey in an attempt to limit the fall-out from the row.

In a statement issued today, Mr Davey said: “There has been no change to Government policy on renewable energy, as collectively agreed by the Coalition Cabinet.

“We set out in the Renewable Energy Roadmap in July 2011 how we expect to reach our target of getting 30% of all UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“We've put in place support to bring on growth in new industries to deploy the technologies needed to diversify our energy mix in the most cost-effective way.

“There are no targets - or caps - for individual renewable technologies such as onshore wind. Nor are there reviews being done of onshore wind on the basis of landscape or property values.

“What we're currently consulting on are ways of making sure local communities feel the benefit of hosting wind farms, and whether our understanding of future costs is accurate.”

Downing Street tried to play down the row but pointedly failed to say that Mr Hayes was speaking for the Government.

“We have set out a clear policy which is that we want an energy mix. He is a minister at DECC. That is the capacity in which he speaks about energy policy.”

A source close to Mr Davey said: “We are going to continue to hold Conservative feet to the fire.”

Suggested Topics
News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PPC Co-Ordinator – Permanent - West Sussex – £24-£30k

£24000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Are you a Marketin...

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

Special Needs Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Special needs teachers required! Sh...

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: EBD teachers re West Midlands

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor