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United Kingdom

"Enough is enough" says UK energy minister re onshore wind

UK: UK junior energy minister John Hayes' call for a review into onshore wind has caused a potential rift with energy minister Ed Davey.

UK junior energy minister John Hayes
UK junior energy minister John Hayes

Trade body RenewableUK is calling for urgent clarification after UK energy minister John Hayes said that he wants a review into the noise that wind turbines create and their relationship with the landscape.

Hayes told two national newspapers: "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 reports say he has now ordered a new analysis of the case for wind farms and their effect on local communities.

A review of costs and community engagement was in fact launched a couple of months ago and is due to end on 15 November.  

In response to Hayes' comments, Davey appeared to put down his junior minister in a statement saying there would be no change to government policy on onshore wind.

"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," Davey said.

Hayes comments come the morning after he addressed 400 industry delegates at the RenewableUK annual conference and gave a speech about the need for clarity and certainty in renewable energy policy to create the right framework for investment.

According to reports, Hayes initially wanted to make the comments in a speech at the RenewableUK conference but was stopped by Davey.

The Conservative minister has spoken out against wind farms on previous occasions. In 2009, Hayes was quoted by the BBC as saying that wind power failed to pass twin tests for economic sustainability and the environment.

He was appointed to the Department for Energy and Climate Change last month replacing the pro-wind Charles Hendry, who had been responsible for renewable energy as junior minister since the coalition government was elected in 2010.


The appointment of Hayes prompted observers to comment the Conservatives were toughening up their approach to renewable energy in terms of spending.

Soon after, UK energy minister and Liberal Democrat Davey assumed responsibility for renewable energy, with Hayes given responsibility for seeing through the Energy Bill.

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