Onshore wind farm subsidies will end if the Conservatives win the next general election, according to Energy Minister Michael Fallon. The minister said that projects not granted planning permission before the election will not get the subsidy as Britain would already have enough wind power to meet its 2020 target.
He also reaffirmed a Conservative pledge to give local authorities more say over where wind farms are sited. The BBC reports that the Liberal Democrats were unhappy with the proposal, and that they had accused Conservatives of pandering to the right-wing.
Mr Fallon told the BBC that a “good mixture of reliable energy” was needed and the government was “committed” to cutting carbon emissions.
“Renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply,” he said.
“But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.”
Fallon also pledged a change in legislation within six months of a Conservative government taking power. At present they are prevented from changing many of the onerous green policies of the last government because of the coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
Under current rules planning permission for major projects like wind farms are taken out of the hands of local officials and dealt with by national government. Under the governments ‘localism’ agenda many more decisions are being put into the hands of local councils, this move would extend that policy further.
Fallon is known to have ambitions to become Conservative Party Chairman and will clearly want to position himself against unpopular wind farm subsidies, but his views are not out of step with the Conservative Leadership. On Tuesday Prime Minister David Cameron indicated his opposition to wind farm subsidies suggesting that the UK should not keep them “for longer than they are necessary”.
Department for Energy and Climate Change figures suggest 13.8GW of UK onshore wind power capacity is already built, under construction or has been granted planning permission.