The Coalition has been accused of being in an “utter shambles” over wind farms after the Energy Secretary moved to strip powers from a Conservative minister for being “prejudiced” against turbines.
Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, said he took legal advice after John Hayes, one of his junior Tory ministers, called an end to wind farms “peppering” the countryside.
In a newspaper interview, Mr Davey said he had written to the Prime Minister pointing out the energy minister had spoken out against Coalition policy. He also said there was a “question mark” over whether Mr Hayes should continue to be responsible for green energy.
“I asked the legal department here whether there was a danger John had prejudiced himself because he had made these statements, and they said there was a danger. They said they could not say it would end up in judicial review, and challenging decisions in which he was involved, but there was a greater potential danger,” he told The Guardian.
David Cameron has not responded to Mr Davey.
“I think it is fair to guess that he has come to the conclusion that renewable energy deployment could stay with John. I can only assume he has decided the legal risk is quite small,” Mr Davey added.
Yesterday, Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, said Mr Davey’s move to strip powers from his deputy was a sign of an “utterly shambolic government”.
Mr Hayes has repeatedly criticised onshore wind farms, amid anger from more than 100 backbench Tory MPs about their intrusion on the countryside.
In a letter in July, the MP for South Holland and The Deepings in Lincolnshire wrote to his local council saying wind farms were “inefficient”, “costly” and generate “barely a trickle of non-storable electricity”.
Last month he said Britain could “no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities”. He also promised to “protect our green and pleasant land”.
The debate over the future of wind farms comes as
Mr Davey prepares to unveil his Energy Bill this week,
paving the way for more nuclear power stations and wind farms over the next two decades.
He will also travel to Doha, Qatar, next week for international talks on how to tackle climate change.
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