March 13, 2015

Top Tory slams party’s “blind hostility” to wind farms

Western Morning News | March 12, 2015 |

A senior Conservative backbencher has condemned his own party’s opposition to onshore wind farms.

Tim Yeo, the outgoing chairman of the committee of MPs that oversees energy policy, has launched a withering attack on “blind unreasoning hostility” to the controversial renewable technology. He said sceptics were part of a “flat earth society”.

Across the region, around 100 large-scale turbines have already been erected at “farms” including Delabole in Cornwall and Fullabrook in Devon, and there are scores more of the smaller single turbines.

If it wins the election, the Conservative Party has promised to axe public subsidies for any newly-planned onshore turbines and give local councils the power to block new schemes.

Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, is among the long-standing campaigners against the “ghastly white gigantic monsters” causing “vandalism” in the countryside.

Last year, the Western Morning News revealed onshore wind turbines in the countryside receive £557 million each year from energy bill payers, and offshore farms off the coast get £699 million.

However, the Conservatives remain committed to the UK’s legally-binding long-term climate change targets.

Energy and Climate Change Committee chairman Mr Yeo, a former environment minister who is standing down as MP for South Suffolk after being deselected by local party members, said the Conservatives would end up spending more money on other more expensive green technology, such as offshore wind farms.

In his valedictory speech, he said: “There are some places in which onshore wind turbines are unacceptable for environmental and aesthetic reasons. But blind unreasoning hostility to onshore wind is mistaken.

“Allowing opponents to rule out onshore wind altogether has only one certain consequence – to raise the cost of achieving the cut in greenhouse gas emissions to which Britain is legally committed.

“In other words higher electricity prices for all consumers. Ministers should let decisions about individual proposals be resolved through the planning system.”

The Tory MP said the next Government must also support deep gas mining, or “fracking”, and oppose the “fuzzy-headed ideological fringes” that oppose the technology.

He said: “It must face down the misguided campaigners who oppose any form of fracking and all onshore wind.”

He labelled those who oppose every application for onshore wind farms, even when local communities do not object, as “climate change sceptics”.

He added: “These latter day members of the flat earth society have buried their heads in the sand over climate change, resolutely refusing to accept the science.”

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