David Cameron has appointed a prominent opponent of onshore wind farms as his new adviser on Energy and Climate Change issues, it was announced yesterday.
George Eustice, a backbench MP and Mr Cameron’s former press secretary, will join the Prime Minister’s Conservative Parliamentary Advisory Board, taking up the role later this month.
Last week, rumours climate sceptic Peter Lilley had been given the role prompted outrage from environmental campaigners. Downing Street quickly denied the suggestion, announcing he would be working on foreign affairs.
Mr Eustice, who was unsuccessful as a south-west candidate for UKIP in 1999, became Head of Press for the Conservative Party under Michael Howard and later for Press Secretary for Cameron during his leadership campaign in 2005.
The move is likely to be greeted with mixed reaction from campaign groups and green businesses. A longtime opponent of onshore wind and solar farms, he recently wrote in a blog that “the sudden proliferation of random, single [ wind] turbines is starting to blight the Cornish countryside.” However he is known to be a keen proponent of marine energy and recently backed Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign which urged the government to help stem the rapid decline of bee populations in the UK. It is unclear how influential the advisory board will be on government policy. Though some sources said the move will help modernise the Tories position on climate change.