Campaigners fighting plans for wind turbines in Bronte country have welcomed reports that the Government is considering making deeper cuts to subsidies for onshore wind farms.
Chancellor George Osborne is said to be fighting for a 25 per cent reduction to the Renewable Obligation scheme, which passes money raised through a levy on household electricity bills to renewable energy operators.
The Coalition last year proposed cutting ROC subsidies by ten per cent.
Anthea Orchard, chairman of the Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which is fighting plans by Banks Renewables to build up to four turbines on moorland south of Denholme, said: “We welcome any drop in subsidies, the bigger the better. We think it will single out serious developers from opportunists.”
Earlier this year, more than 100 Conservative back bench MPs wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding cuts to public subsidies for wind farms, which total £400 million a year.
Shipley MP Philip Davies, who has voiced opposition to the proposals for Thornton Moor, said: “I think it’s a massive step in the right direction. Wind energy is hugely expensive and terribly inefficient. It’s basically been a redistribution of wealth in reverse.
“The fact that Government is now starting to tackle this and reduce the subsidy is good for the local environment in the fact that we won’t have these monstrosities blighting the landscape and good for everybody because it means we won’t have to pay as much for our energy.”
But Phil Dyke, development director at Banks, claimed figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed the ROC subsidies, which he said encouraged energy suppliers to use green electricity, cost the average household just £1.42 a month in real terms last year.
He said: “We have been closely involved with the recent Government consultation on ROCs, and have been factoring the long-expected ten per cent rate reduction into the financial planning we undertake for our wind farm proposals, including the Thornton Moor scheme.
“Electricity generated by onshore wind farms, such as Thornton Moor, will help ensure that we all continue to enjoy the constant and reliable supply of low-carbon energy upon which our lifestyle depends, and we are pleased with the amount of positive feedback that we have received about our proposals from many local people over recent months.”
Mr Dyke added: “Companies such as Banks do not receive any subsidy at all for the investments we make in planning, developing and building our wind farm projects.”