Cracks are appearing in the the Coalition UK government over energy policy. Energy minister Lib-Dem Ed Davey is furious over statements made to the Daily Mail by junior minister John Hayes concerning wind farms:
A furious coalition row erupted today after a junior Tory minister declared that the relentless march of onshore wind farms is at an end.
Insisting ‘enough is enough’, energy minister John Hayes said turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for local opinion.
He said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more.
‘Even if a minority of what’s in the system is built we are going to reach our 2020 target,’ he said. ‘I’m saying enough is enough.’
But at an early-morning showdown with his boss – Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey – Mr Hayes was told he does not decide government policy.
Mr Hayes told the Mail he had commissioned research on the impact of wind turbines on the landscape and whether they drive down house prices.
He has also asked scientists to examine noise complaints and more sinister suggestions that the turbines endanger military aircraft by blocking radar signals.
The intervention by Mr Hayes, who became energy minister in last month’s reshuffle, will delight 100-plus fellow Tory MPs who have urged David Cameron to take a more sceptical approach to onshore wind power.
It does however risk a clash with the Liberal Democrats, who are enthusiastic advocates of renewable energy.
A source close to Mr Davey said today: ‘John does not decide government policy. There will be no change. We are in a coalition government, not a single party government and definitely not a single minister government.
‘We are determined to make sure the coalition lives up to the Prime Minister’s pledge to make it the greenest government ever.’
However, the Lib-Dems commitment to green energy now extends to nuclear power, and this will be controversial within their own ranks, as environmentalists face the dilemma of their longstanding opposition to atomic waste generation against their desire to phase out fossil fuel energy production:
Hitachi’s £700m ($1.1bn) acquisition of Horizon Nuclear Power from energy companies RWE Npower and E.On is a big deal.
And not only in terms of the amount the Japanese company has agreed to pay.
Prime Minister David Cameron describes it as a “a decades-long, multi-billion pound vote of confidence in the UK”.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey hails its importance to the energy sector, which he says will “play a big role in the growth of the UK economy”.
The deal is big because:
- it offers the promise of inward investment into the UK, somewhere in the region of £20bn,
- it could result in the creation of thousands of skilled jobs in the UK with vast sums invested in the training and education of nuclear workers,
- and it offers a potential solution to an energy supply challenge in the UK, where shortages loom within years, by building nuclear plants that would eventually power some 14 million homes.
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20137573