David Cameron is under fresh pressure from his own backbenchers to slash subsidies for controversial onshore wind farms.
Dozens of Tory MPs are joining forces in a new group pressing for the Government to review funding for a technology they argue does “more harm than good”.
Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams, one of those who attended the group’s first meeting, urged the Prime Minister to act in the House of Commons yesterday by focusing support on “cost-effective and reliable” technologies like biomass rather than “inefficient, costly, large-scale onshore wind farms”.
He told the Yorkshire Post onshore wind farms were “cash cows” and added: “One person’s subsidy is another person’s tax, but if you do have this pot of money to encourage green energy I’d much rather see if be used on proven, reliable, cost-effective technology like biomass.”
The group, led by Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris, marks a significant shift in pressure on the Government from its own MPs over onshore wind farms which have often proved controversial, particularly when located near some of Yorkshire’s beauty spots.
Hundreds more turbines are planned across Yorkshire which are already sparking strong campaigns. Supporters say wind farms are essential to cut pollution, but critics claim increases in energy bills are partly due to the subsidies and say wind is unreliable.
Mr Adams added: “When I was elected 20 months ago there was a small number of colleagues very concerned about the onward march of large scale wind farms. Given the number of people who turned up at the meeting and expressed their concern about this, it’s clear that the Government needs to listen.”
Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith, who also backed the group, said: “Worried communities across North Yorkshire are crying out for much clearer rules so that this balance between energy, planning, landscape and environment is better enshrined in law.”
Mr Heaton Harris said his main aim in mobilising MPs was “to try and get the Government to stop for a few weeks and fundamentally review its massive support (through subsidy) for a renewable technology that I believe does more harm than good”.
Responding to Mr Adams, the Prime Minister said yesterday that the Government would target funding at “only the most cost-effective onshore wind farms” because it was “now one of the mature and cheaper technologies”. He said support should be increased “for an expansion in sustainable biomass generation, which is reliable and cost-effective”.
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