David Cameron claimed on Tuesday the public was “fed up” with onshore windfarms and said the country did not need any more subsidised turbines on land now that the energy source was capable of providing 10% of UK energy.
He said: “Let’s get rid of the subsidy, put them into the planning system. If they can make their case, they will make their case. I suspect they won’t and we’ll have a reasonable amount of onshore wind, we’ll have safer electricity supplies as a result but enough is enough and I’m very clear about that.”
Cameron’s remarks to the liaison committee of MPs are at odds with polling conducted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change that suggests onshore wind is popular.
Cameron also waded into green groups , claiming environmental campaigners opposed shale gas with a religiosity. “My objection to the green groups is that they don’t want to hear any of these arguments, because they can’t bear any new carbon-based energy source coming on stream,” he said.
He said he believed the debate would be resolved in favour of fracking and the industry would be seen in a different light once the first pods were developed, starting next year, and it emerged how little disruption they caused.
He told MPs: “I think there are some myths we need to get over – the myth that fracking would be a disaster for the environment, the myth that GM technology means we are all going to be eating fish-flavoured tomatoes, the myth that nuclear power is inherently unstable and we shouldn’t pursue it.
“These are myths that we need to confront if we are going to be a successful science-based country in the future.”
He surprised green groups by claiming fracking was not subsidised : “We are not subsidising fracking with a guaranteed pence-per-kilowatt hour. What we are saying is, as we stand today there are no unconventional gas wells in Britain and yet the Bowland shale, some of the other shale reserves, have the potential to provide gas for this country maybe for as long as 30 years.
“It’s a nascent industry. We are not giving it a subsidy, we are just saying effectively that there should be a tax regime on this industry that encourages it to get going and, crucially, encourages it to get going and to reward local communities.
“This industry is going to have to make a profit in order to succeed, but the way you tax a new industry is different to the way you tax an existing industry.”
He also refused to say if he would publish an unredacted version of the March 2014 government report into the impact of shale gas on the rural economy.
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