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Coalition split over wind energy

There has been no change in the Government’s policy on renewable energy and wind turbines, according to the Prime Minister and Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey, who was forced to slap down his Tory junior John Hayes after he suggested in newspaper interviews that on-shore windfarm construction would cease. 

Davey said: “The Government is still committed to renewables including onshore wind. They are the cheapest available major renewable source and as the Prime Minister made clear today in the House of Commons the policy on renewables hasn't changed.” 

It is reported that Hayes wanted to announce a moratorium on wind turbine construction in a speech this week, but was prevented from doing so by Davey, who has taken personal control of that part of Hayes’ brief. But Hayes still told anti-wind newspapers that “we can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities”. 

He was quoted as saying: “I can’t single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land. 

“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.” 

Trade body RenewableUK said Hayes’ statements contradicted things he had said at the organisation’s conference this week, when he instead focused on renewables’ benefits and green jobs. 

According to opinion polls, most people back the construction of more on-shore windfarms, especially if the community benefits or if the alternative options are more gas or nuclear power plants. 

According to a YouGov poll last month, by 55% to 21% people wanted to see more wind farms, including Conservative voters by 49% to 28%. 

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