Cabinet split over energy intensifies as Grant Shapps contradicts Kwasi Kwarteng over onshore wind farms


Boris Johnsons The cabinet is still divided on how to proceed with onshore wind farmswhere the Secretary of Transport publicly contradicts comments from other ministers.

Grant Shapps has indicated that plans to expand wind farms on land – which has proved to be a turning point for successive conservative governments, as traditional blue voters regard them as a stain on the landscape – must not be included in The government’s long-awaited energy strategy.

He described turbines as “something of an eye-catcher” and suggested that offshore wind farms, nuclear energy and solar energy are the way forward.

On the question of whether planning legislation needs to be relaxed to allow more onshore wind farms in the UK, the transport minister said Sky News: “I do not advocate a huge increase in wind farms on land for quite obvious reasons, they sit on the hills there and can create something of an eye socket for local communities as well as problems in other ways.

“So I think for the sake of environmental protection, the way to go with this pretty much, not quite, is off sea.”

Pressed on whether it means the idea of ​​a “big increase in the number of onshore wind farms” is “effectively off the table for now”, he said: “I would urge you to wait for the energy strategy later in the week.

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“But my thinking is that what you really want to do is develop in other ways – nuclear, we want offshore wind. I do not think you want a huge expansion of onshore wind.

“There may be cases where it makes sense, but I think by and large that we have established … that offshore works very well. And by the way, it already supplies quite a bit of our power.”

It comes after Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi last week insisted that “there are not a number” on onshore wind farms.

He indicated his approval of more wind farms on land and suggested that local communities could be encouraged with free electricity to ensure that wind turbines get the green light.

The Transport Secretary’s comments also stand in stark contrast to previous remarks by Trade Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, who revealed to I to The government seeks to facilitate planning control to make it easier to build new wind farms on land.

“I think the Prime Minister has been very aware that wind on land should be part of the mix and we need to look at the planning,” he said. “We’re not saying we want to scrap all planning rules, and all of these things have to be in line with community support.”

“The argument about onshore wind in 2015 was a historic argument, even before we committed to net-zero and the circumstances today with Putin, Russia, Saudi Arabia, all these things mean we need to have more energy dependence, and I think renewable energy on land is definitely a part of it. “

But even he has been shown to calm down a bit and has since told it Sunday Telegraph that local resistance to fracking and land winds will be taken into account.

Grant Shapps indicated he would advocate expanding offshore wind farms (Photo: Getty)

“The thing with wind on land and with fracking is that it has to be the consent of society,” he said.

“We do not live in a totalitarian country where the government, the man or the woman in Whitehall, can say ‘Well, we want to do this’, without some degree of consent from the local communities. And in both of these technologies, frankly, been significant local resistance.

“It does not mean that we close the door on both, but it does mean that every movement must have a high degree of local consent.”

He added that even if he would be comfortable living next to a set of wind turbines, it would not override any local dissent.

Other ministers are believed to be skeptical about the development of onshore winds due to the visual impact of the wind turbines on the landscape.

The Scottish Minister, Alister Jack, is among those who oppose expanding onshore winds, but it is understood he is backing offshore developments.

That The government’s energy strategy was to be unveiled last weekbut was delayed again.

The plan will highlight the Prime Minister’s goal of move Britain towards renewable energy sources to reduce Britain’s dependence on Russian fuel.

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