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UK energy minister Davey in onshore attack on Conservatives

UK: UK energy secretary Ed Davey has said that government colleague Eric Pickles is at risk of "abusing ministerial power" in his interference in onshore wind planning applications.

Energy secretary Ed Davey delivers his speech in Glasgow (Pic: Liberal Democrats/Dave Radcliffe)
Energy secretary Ed Davey delivers his speech in Glasgow (Pic: Liberal Democrats/Dave Radcliffe)

Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change and a member of the Liberal Democrat party, criticised communities secretary and Conservative politician Eric Pickles over his use of the UK's planning system.

The two parties have been in a coalition government since 2010. Davey was speaking at his party's annual conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

"Mr Pickles... has been calling in every onshore wind planning application he can. Interfering with the independent Planning Inspectorate process.

"[He] is in danger of bring the planning system into disrepute. Of abusing ministerial power. And so preventing Britain getting the green power revolution it needs," Davey said.

The attack by the Liberal Democrats over its coalition partner's position on onshore wind was echoed by business secretary Vince Cable this week. He accused the Conservative Party of having a "pathological aversion to onshore wind" and said its opposition to wind turbines was "irrational".

In April, Pickles extended the time he can personally rule on applications by 12 months, changing the appeal process.

Of the 50 projects he has said he will review, only 19 have reached decisions, with just two being approved, according to trade body RenewableUK. Five of the projects he rejected had previously been recommended for approval by the Planning Inspectorate.


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