August 14, 2012

Climate committee chairman Tim Yeo under pressure over industry links

The Telegraph | 14 August 2012

Conservative MP Tim Yeo is facing a backlash from his colleagues on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee over his paid roles within the renewable energy sector, it was reported.

MPs on the Government committee were said to be plotting to remove Mr Yeo as chairman over his £140,000-a-year earnings from green power companies.

The former environment minister has promoted low-carbon energy sources, even claiming it may be necessary “to bribe” communities to accept wind farms.

Mr Yeo, who is also president of the Renewable Energy Association, received more than £139,450 from power firms, according to the MPs’ register of interests.

He is expected to face a challenge to his position from other members of the committee, the Daily Mail reported.

“We are seeking advice on how this can be done as select committee chairmen are now elected. But there is obviously a potential conflict of interest here,” a source told the newspaper.

As chairman of biofuel company TMO Renewables, Mr Yeo earned £68,000 in a year while he was also paid £55,450 for working for AFC Energy.

The register showed an additional income of £16,000 from Eco City Vehicles.

Last month, he told the Guardian he blamed the Government’s reticence to build wind farms on a desire to appease Conservative backbenches.

Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris responded to the comments by saying: “Unsurprised by Tim Yeo’s comments. I’m sure he’s genuinely worried about the subsidies 4 green jobs, esp as he holds so many of them himself.”

Mr Yeo told the Daily Mail: “Not only have my interests been correctly registered at all times but… they were listed in full on the ballot paper circulated to all MPs when I was elected chair of the committee in June 2010.

“Furthermore, I’ve held the views I’ve expressed regularly on renewable energy consistently and strongly since 1993, as many publicly available documents over the last 19 years show.”

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