'No change' to policy on energy

Ealing Times: Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the Government's renewable energy policy had not changed Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the Government's renewable energy policy had not changed

David Cameron insisted that the Government's energy policy has not changed, after a Tory minister attacked the way wind farms were being "peppered" across the countryside.

But the Prime Minister left the door open for a halt to development once current planned projects are completed.

Coalition tensions over energy policy erupted after Energy Minister John Hayes said "enough is enough" and vowed to "protect our green and pleasant land".

He was slapped down by Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who said there has been "no change" to Government policy.

Mr Cameron told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions: "There has been no change towards renewable energy. Let me explain exactly - we have got a big pipeline of onshore and offshore wind projects that are coming through. We are committed to those, but frankly all parties are going to have to have a debate in this House and outside this House about what happens once those targets are met."

Mr Hayes, whose comments will delight many Tory backbenchers opposed to onshore wind farms, was appointed by Mr Cameron as a Tory deputy to Mr Davey in last month's reshuffle.

Mr Davey was reportedly so concerned about his views on the issue that he acted to limit his responsibilities.

In reported comments, Mr Hayes said wind farms could no longer be "imposed on communities", adding: "I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land."

He insisted that only a minority of proposed wind turbines were needed to meet green targets set by the Government. "If you look at what has been built, what has consent and what is in the planning system, much of it will not get through and will be rejected. Even if a minority of what's in the system is built, we are going to reach our 2020 target. I'm saying enough is enough."

It is understood that the remarks were contained in a draft of a speech Mr Hayes had intended to give on Tuesday night. After Mr Davey's office saw the draft, however, Mr Hayes was told it was not acceptable and he should not give it. The content then appears to have ended up with the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph.

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