Ministers have ruled out a fresh expansion of wind farms – but will not reverse plans for the thousands of turbines already in the pipeline.
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said there had been an ‘unbalanced’ approach to the controversial turbines and vowed there would be no significant expansion of farms.
Under former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, around 10,000 onshore turbines were planned in order to meet EU targets, with thousands more planned offshore.
There are already 3,100 turbines across Britain which cost taxpayers up to £700million a year in subsidies. Mr Barker, a Tory minister, said yesterday that the Government was now looking at other options and played down the prospects of the full number of wind turbines planned under Mr Huhne being built.
He said: ‘Far from wanting thousands more, actually for most of the wind we need… they are either built, being developed or in planning. It’s about being balanced and sensible. We inherited a policy from the last government which was unbalanced in favour of onshore wind.’
But a source close to the Department for Energy and Climate Change said there was ‘no U-turn on wind farms’, adding: ‘This is not a change in policy.’
Ed Davey, Mr Huhne’s Lib Dem successor, has previously backed wind farms.
However, a Government source said that Tories were celebrating Mr Huhne’s departure and that there had been a ‘recalibration’ of the policy, adding: ‘Chris Huhne was too much of a zealot about wind power. Thankfully Ed Davey is far more reasonable.’
Earlier this year more than 100 Tory MPs wrote to the Prime Minister in protest when plans were unveiled for an expansion of wind farms.
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