RenewableUK flags policy fears

Trade body RenewableUK has warned Prime Minister David Cameron to quash uncertainty around future Conservative party policy towards renewables, after reports he is considering making an election pledge to impose tougher restrictions on onshore wind farms.

“The Prime Minister needs to step in right now and put a stop to these deeply unhelpful leaks concerning the future direction of Conservative party policy on renewable energy,” says Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK.

The reports claim Cameron is now “of one mind” with critics who have been calling for a cut to the subsidies handed out to wind farms and the stricter planning laws placed on them.

It comes after a clash between Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg – leader of the Liberal Democrat party co-governing in the UK’s Coalition – who rejected a Conservative proposal to limit consent for new onshore projects.

Smith says the suggestion that there should be any kind of moratorium on the development of onshore wind ignores the fact that it is the most cost-effective form of renewable energy available to consumers.

It also disregards the fact that two-thirds of the public consistently support the growth of onshore wind energy, he added. “The fact that these rumours are being allowed to continue about such a popular technology means that every energy and infrastructure investor in the country will be wondering ‘who’s next?”.

Smith claimed the message going out is that if a vocal minority complain about popular, much-needed infrastructure the prime minister is unwilling to defend it.

“Nearly 19,000 people work in the UK onshore wind industry – and that number is set to double over the next ten years unless the government blows it. Irresponsible, unattributed rumours like this play with all of their jobs.”