UK government tensions over green energy increased today after Energy Secretary Ed Davey slapped down newly-appointed Energy Minister John Hayes for his 'enough is enough' stance on onshore wind.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Hayes said it was 'extraordinary' that the UK has allowed onshore wind turbines to be 'peppered' around the country. The comments had originally been set to appear in a speech by Hayes but were vetoed by the Energy Secretary in its first draft.
A Liberal Democrat source told PoliticsHome, 'This may be the speech that John Hayes and the Tory Tea Party wanted but it wasn't even delivered because he was told not to.'
Hayes, however, gave an in depth interview with the Daily Mail in which he declared 'enough was enough' for onshore wind farms.
He told the Mail, 'The onshore wind debate is skewing the whole debate, which is not good for the government, not good for people and not good for the renewables lobby. We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.
'Firstly, I have asked the planning minister to look again at the relationship between these turbines and the landscape.'
He added, '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.
'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.'
Davey responded, '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 per cent 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.
'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.'