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Onshore wind farms subsidies would be scrapped by Tories

he Conservatives have said they will not subsidise new onshore wind farms if they win the 2015 general election.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said any project not granted planning permission before the election would not get funds as the UK would already have enough wind power to meet 2020 EU targets.

He also said councils in England and Wales would be given the “decisive say” on new onshore wind farms from 2015.

A Lib Dem source accused the party of pandering to its right wing.

The source said the Tories were trying to stop voters turning to UKIP.

‘No more needed’

Mr Fallon said a “good mixture of reliable energy” was needed and the government was “committed” to cutting carbon emissions.

“Renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply,” he said.

“But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.”

He also said his party would change the law within six months of winning the 2015 election so all onshore wind farm applications would be handled by local planning authorities.

At present large projects in England and Wales are dealt with under the “nationally significant infrastructure” planning regime.

Coalition divide

The government says there is currently enough wind power to provide energy to four million homes, forecast to rise to seven million by 2020.

Department for Energy and Climate Change figures suggest 13.8GW of UK onshore wind power capacity is already built, under construction or has been granted planning permission.

It says that will be enough to meet targets of 11-13GW even if some projects fall through.

BC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had been “at pains to point out how much they disagree about onshore wind farms”, with David Cameron “repeatedly saying” subsidies must eventually be brought to an end.

On Tuesday the prime minister said the government “shouldn’t keep subsidies for longer than they are necessary”.

On Wednesday the government announced approval of eight new renewable energy projects, including offshore wind farms and conversions of coal-powered plants to run on biomass.

Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the move marked a “new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom”.