Anti-wind Hayes replaced as UK energy minister

UK: Anti-wind energy minister John Hayes has been replaced after just seven months in the role in a move that has taken the renewables industry completely by surprise.

Michael Fallon replaces John Hayes as energy minister (pic:BIS)

Hayes has been moved to the Cabinet Office, which supports the prime minister. He will be replaced by Conservative MP Michael Fallon, who will also retain his role at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The timing of the change has been criticised by some, as major legislation reforming the energy markets is in the middle of parliamentary scrutiny. However, Hayes was not popular with the renewables industry and caused controversy last year when he gave an interview to the right-wing press saying that England was "peppered" with onshore wind farms, and that "enough is enough".

Trade body RenewableUK director of external affairs Jennifer Webber said of Fallon: "It will be quite useful to have someone who straddles both departments [BIS and the Department for Energy and Climate Change], especially with the offshore industrial strategy coming out soon."