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Energy Minister Greg Barker: ‘We put some wind farms in the wrong place’

Wind farms have scarred the British landscape and turned the public against the renewable energy agenda, an Energy Minister has conceded.

Greg Barker made the admission as he promised that future projects would be located off-shore.

‘We put certain projects in the wrong place,’ the Energy and Climate Change Minister said. ‘Some planners have been too insensitive to the impact on the landscape and it has turned public opinion against the wider renewable agenda.

‘We are very clear about the need to limit the impact on the countryside and landscape. It is quite clear the expansion of the on-shore wind rush is over.’

Mr Barker’s comments come amid growing political tension over rising household energy bills and a week after it was revealed that a record number of on-shore wind farms have been approved for construction this year.

Between January and August, 188 were granted planning permission – a 49 per cent increase on the same period in 2012.

As energy companies continue to lodge applications to take advantage of generous green subsidies, Mr Barker said Britain was on course to meet a target that 20 per cent of electricity must come from sustainable sources by 2020.

But the Minister added that he would write to every council, warning they must ban turbines from areas of outstanding natural beauty.

He said: ‘There’s enough wind projects in the system now so we don’t need to see any more on-shore expansion.

‘The big area for expansion is off-shore, where there is scope for larger projects.

‘With those projects in the system or under consideration in the planning process at the moment, it means we have enough to get to our 2020 targets.

‘But it cannot be at any place and at any price.’