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Welsh MP Alun Cairns urges cut in wind farm subsidy

A south Wales MP says wind farms are inefficient and he has joined over 100 fellow Conservatives to urge a cut in tax subsidies for onshore turbines.

Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns told BBC’s Sunday Politics they are too expensive.

The MPs are also asking Prime Minister David Cameron to change planning rules to make it easier for local people to object to their construction.

The UK government said wind farms were “cost-effective and valuable”.

Mr Cairns said: “My scepticism about wind energy has been on the record for a long time.

“I think it’s inefficient, I think it’s expensive.

“I think it drives up people’s energy bills and that’s the core issue that needs to be focussed on.”

‘Diverse energy mix’

The issue of wind farms has caused tensions between the governments at Westminster and Cardiff Bay as planning powers are divided between the two.

Eluned Parrott AM, Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for business and enterprise, told the Sunday Politics programme the subsidy should not be cut.

“We need to have a balance of different means of generating electricity to achieve that and so to pull the rug out from under one particular source of energy at this time is a mistake,” she said.

The Tory MPs – joined by some backbenchers from other parties – have questioned the amount of money going to the sector during “straitened times”.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We need a low-carbon infrastructure and onshore wind is a cost effective and valuable part of the UK’s diverse energy mix.”