Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, has stopped his new Conservative deputy from taking control over Coalition policy on wind farms.
Mr Davey acted to prevent John Hayes, who was appointed in this month’s reshuffle, taking formal responsibility for renewable energy strategy.
Mr Hayes has campaigned against wind farms in his Lincolnshire constituency, describing turbines as a “terrible intrusion” on the landscape.
Conservative MPs opposed to wind farms saw his appointment to the Department of Energy and Climate Change as a positive sign, hoping that the new minister would try to curb the spread of turbines.
Relations between the Coalition parties over energy policy, and wind power in particular, have become increasingly strained and Mr Davey has been fighting attempts by the Treasury to deepen cuts in subsidies for wind farms.
In a move that surprised the energy industry, Mr Hayes replaced Charles Hendry, another Tory, in this month’s reshuffle. Mr Hendry had held ministerial responsibility for renewable energy policy, chairing departmental meetings and receiving reports on the issue.
Following the reshuffle, Mr Davey told officials that he would take over responsibility for many of the issues that Mr Hendry had overseen.
An official Whitehall list of ministerial responsibilities has recently been updated to add “renewable energy strategy” to Mr Davey’s portfolio.
Mr Hayes, meanwhile, is responsible only for “renewable energy deployment”, implementing decisions made by his Lib Dem colleague.
Speaking at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton, Mr Davey said that Lib Dems in government have struggled to work with Right-wing Conservatives who reject Mr Cameron’s agenda, which formerly included a commitment to “green” issues.
Mr Davey said: “The issue we have with our Conservative colleagues is they are not all united around the detoxification strategy – some of them want to remain toxic. There is a debate going on in the Tory party. It is not settled.”
Mr Cameron has “got some party management to do”, he added.
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