Industry “shock” at Hayes anti-wind jibes

The wind industry is in “shock” after new Energy Minister John Hayes’ reported anti-turbine comments in a daily newspaper this morning. The minister is reported as criticising wind turbines for […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The wind industry is in “shock” after new Energy Minister John Hayes’ reported anti-turbine comments in a daily newspaper this morning.

The minister is reported as criticising wind turbines for “peppering” the landscape, the day after he attended a renewable energy conference in Glasgow.

Industry figures said the minister had been “warm” towards them at RenewableUK’s event which made the comments all the more surprising.

Maf Smith, RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive said: “The new Minister has said one thing to us and another to the press. We are on the eve of the publication of the Energy Bill, a crucial time for energy policy, with huge investment decisions to be made that will lead to tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade. If we are to see these jobs and investment realised confidence must be retained and that means consistency.”

Campaign group WWF-UK said Conservative members of the coalition government needed to stop ‘playing politics’ with energy policy.

Nick Molho, head of energy policy at WWF-UK said: “John Hayes’ comments will be deeply unhelpful and unsettling for investors. It also beggars belief that he should come out with them on a day when Michael Heseltine, in a report to the Prime Minister, has highlighted the need for a clear and consistent long term energy policy and framework to unlock economic growth.”

Others at Friends of the Earth pointed to DECC figures which show two thirds of people back onshore wind power, with just 12% opposing.