United Kingdom

United Kingdom

RenewableUK pro-wind campaign silent amid backlash

UK: As a political row over wind broke out following the resignation of energy secretary Chris Huhne, the UK wind industry's new pro-renewables campaign has been conspicuous by its absence.

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In the aftermath of Huhne’s resignation after being charged with perverting the course of justice, over 100 Conservative MPs wrote to the government demanding changes to wind farm legislation.

This includes cuts to subsidies paid to onshore wind farms and changes to planning rules to make it easier for local people to defeat applications for wind farms. Meanwhile there have been numerous attacks on wind energy in the press.

The government was quick to defend its plans to expand onshore wind, an effort that was praised by UK industry body RenewableUK. But the Action for Renewables campaign, which was launched by RenewableUK last year and is funded by its members, has not updated its website since Autumn 2011.    

At the time the group was launched in June last year, RenewableUK said the campaign's aim was to bring "together senior business leaders, trade unionists, non-governmental organisations and grass roots activists to call for Britain to generate more clean, green energy from renewable sources such as wind, wave and tidal power."

However, Action for Renewables’ "latest news" section on its website featured an announcement of environmentalist Tony Juniper launching the campaign last October. The comment feed has been hijacked with spam, advertising designer shoes and furniture.

A spokesman for RenewableUK explained that the campaign had been busy with "under the radar stuff" rather than press activity and that the campaign was focused at helping local campaigners defend wind farm projects in their area.

"The news section isn't really how we're updating people, it is more focused on Facebook and Twitter," the spokesman said. However, the campaign has just 1800 "followers" on Twitter and no "friends" on Facebook.

Speaking at the campaign launch in October, Juniper said: "For too long the media and the internet have been dominated by myths and hearsay about renewables. This campaign is about setting the record straight and encouraging people to stand up and support properly-sited renewable energy developments around the country.

"The silent majority in support of renewables needs to make its voice heard – now more than ever. Action for Renewables intends to give it the tools to achieve just that."

Additional information 9 February

Although the most recent news of the Action for Renewables site was in October, there have been nine blog posts added between then and January.

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