The government has defended its continued subsidisation of onshore wind farms in the face of criticism from peers belonging to a range of parties.
“Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective, large-scale renewable technologies, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains part of the UK’s energy mix,” energy spokesperson Baroness Verma told the House of Lords.
Labour’s Baroness Quin had raised the issue during the daily question session on 21 January 2013. She expressed concern that Northumberland has more onshore wind farms than other English counties.
Lady Quin argued that wind farms are “potentially harming other parts of our regional economy, particularly the tourist industry”.
Her position was backed by crossbencher Lord Walton of Detchant, who said turbines were an “irrevocable scar” on the countryside, and the UUP’s Reverend Lord Empey, who claimed wind is only an “intermittent” source of energy and do not drive down usage of fossil fuel.
Conservative Lord Cormack described turbines as “uneconomic, unreliable and unsightly” and claiming John Hayes had voiced the view of many when he said “enough is enough” on wind farms.
He was referring to comments made by energy minister in October, which contributed to reports of a dispute between Mr Hayes and Energy Climate Secretary Ed Davey over the government’s support for wind farms.
Baroness Verma stressed that wind farms had to meet certain conditions before they were approved.
“All wind farms must be well-designed and well-sited to be approved, and applications for onshore wind farms can be turned down because of local concerns,” she said.
During the session, peers also asked questions on tackling global hunger, adult social care provision and flooding at Camp Liberty in Iraq.
After questions, the EU (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill and the EU (Approvals) Bill passed at third reading without debate.
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