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Lib Dems attack Tory policy on renewables

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 16, 2013

Energy Secretary Ed Davey

Comments (8)

In Glasgow

The Liberal Democrats have declared war against "stone age" Conservatives over green power, arguing a Tory minister wants to "cull wind turbines faster than he can cull badgers".

Energy Secretary Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, yesterday launched a withering attack on Tory Environment Secretary Owen Paterson over "green retreats".

Mr Paterson has said wind farms are often "regarded as a complete scam".

Wind farms are a deeply contentious issue in rural Devon and Cornwall, with 100 large-scale turbines in the region causing outrage among local people.

Speaking in his keynote address at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow, Mr Davey told delegates it was the Lib Dems who were countering Tory scepticism over climate change and renewable energy.

He told delegates: "We have to be in Government. To fight for green advances. And fight off green retreats. Take the battles I fight over wind power.

"Owen Paterson would cull wind turbines faster than he can cull badgers. But we have prevented the stone age wing of the Conservative Party from destroying our leading renewables industry."

In an interview over the weekend, Mr Davey said he was not a "wind farm evangelist". In the speech, he added: "I understand the concerns people have about energy's impact on our beautiful landscape – whether it's turbines, coal pits or shale gas rigs.

"That's why I've worked hard to ensure that local communities will enjoy much greater benefits from hosting wind farms, nuclear reactors or shale gas drilling.

"Different to Labour. Different to the Tories. Liberal Democrat commitment to communities in action at the national level. Energy and emotions – historically – have come together."

Conservatives have made little secret of their opposition to wind power, leading the push to slash subsidies amid backbench disquiet over their effectiveness and impact on rural landscapes, tourism and house prices.

Last month, the pair clashed as it emerged the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has commissioned a review of whether wind turbines in rural areas depress prices of properties among other issues.

Mr Paterson has brought in consultants Frontier Economics to establish the loss to house prices caused by onshore wind. Studies to date on the link have been limited in scope.

In 2007, Oxford Brookes University looked at properties in Cornwall and commented that "the 'threat' of a wind farm may have a more significant impact than the actual presence of one".

But another study analysed 201 sales transactions from houses situated within half-a-mile of a 16-turbine wind farm in Cornwall, and found "some evidence" to suggest that both noise and flicker from the turbine blades "could blight certain property and that the view of countryside enjoyed by the occupier had some value which may be affected by a wind farm".

Mr Davey also said yesterday the Conservatives have reneged on their commitment to be the greenest government ever after "relentlessly attacking" Lib Dem efforts to tackle climate change.

Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, recently claimed he was among half of all Tory MPs that are sceptical global warming is caused by humans.

"We are the greenest party that has ever served in government," Mr Davey said.

"But our fight – and it is a fight – is to make the coalition the greenest government ever."

He heaped praise on his Lib Dem colleague, Environment Minister and Somerton and Frome MP David Heath, for "fighting tooth and nail" for green policies.

Before exiting the stage, he made an offer to the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband to join the Lib Dems in the fight against climate change.

He said: "Given his track record, surely he would want to improve Labour's act on climate change? So today I'm giving him the chance."

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  • letigre  |  September 17 2013, 11:20AM

    The Tory policy on renewables is the same as the LDs, they are in a coalition government with energy policy directed by the DECC!? It doesn't matter what one MP says or another one says. An application goes in and it is given president over all other issues as it is a renewable development. Either way I was fairly sure this renewable hot potato topic would be started by the Tories in the run up to election time but he seems to have well and truly thrown down the gauntlet. Popcorn time! http://tinyurl.com/ozphze4 @Sandman you'll find links to Cornish applications and the council maps on this website: http://tinyurl.com/orwmsyz @JeremyBadger Fancy putting in a scoping plan for a wind farm in Kingston? That'd wake his constituency up I'm sure. There's some good brownfield sites dotted around and also a few green parks with some deer knocking around, I hear the royal family are fairly amenable to making a few bob from wind farm land rent – everyone's a winner! You all seem to have nailed most of the points. Clearly this is someone utterly barking in charge of arguably one of the most important government departments. How on earth he thinks he can control the planet's climate with wind turbines in the UK is anyone's guess. Looking around Cornwall though his department is having a damned good try. I see we have 6 days to go to the much publicised BBC's arctic to be ice-free by 2013. Anyone else think that's unlikely! http://tinyurl.com/4vx2xw

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  • johndavies  |  September 16 2013, 11:41PM

    The climate fool, ******** Davey is an absolute green zealot, he not only ignores scientific facts (including data from his own dept), but continues to defend his position by quoting misinformation, junk science & dodgy data, such as the fraudulent 'overwhelming 97% consensus' claim (the opinion of just 75 scientists, 51,000 others were ignored because they disagreed with the political agenda ), deliberate miss-classification of data, etc etc. But then what do you expect… he's a politician !! Here's an example (The Sunday Politics Andrew Neil interview with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey on 14/7/13 http://tinyurl.com/kxpfu3j For more on climate scandals see - http://tinyurl.com/33vvjvb It is a very dangerous world, when politics trump science.

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  • sandman18  |  September 16 2013, 8:24PM

    The man with a face you would just have to punch !!! Check out http://tinyurl.com/96bxqsl for the latest map of turbines working or in the planning system not as accurate as I would like but getting there. If you know of any that are now up and working but are still shown as approved but not built then please let me know.

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  • Vindpust  |  September 16 2013, 3:40PM

    Slight irony in Mr Davey ranting about stone-age Tories. As I understand it, HE is the one pushing a pre-industrial technology. Wind power was abandoned in favour of water-power then steam, because we wanted reliable power generation. Nothing has changed - wind remains erratic and intermittent and has a proven record of producing most when least needed (during warm, westerlies) and least when most needed (periods of settled high pressure normally associated with very high or very low temperatures).

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  • DipStick  |  September 16 2013, 3:18PM

    @jeremybadger: you forgot the most important point about the nuclear power station. It would work even when the wind didn't blow .... DS

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  • JeremyBadger  |  September 16 2013, 1:50PM

    Rt Hon Edward Davey, MP for Kingston & Surbiton, how many of these da*n wind farms has he got in Surbiton or Kingston then? If they would only have one nuclear power station in their backyard we could get rid all of the those which blight our beautiful countryside. Yes its true, one nuclear power station would produce these same power (if not more) than ALL of the windfarms in the UK put together.

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  • Stork  |  September 16 2013, 12:15PM

    The Lib-Dems, the Party who now insist they MUST be in power in every way shape or form, and in every next Government into the beyond. Why, are the Lib-Dems something special ? They have to throw their hats into the ring like other Parties, and get votes. However, in the next General Election, I think they are going to have to take it on the chin when they get a good drubbing. That's unless they come up with the wonder plan, that will persuade voters to vote Lib-Dem.

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  • DipStick  |  September 16 2013, 9:00AM

    Ah yes, Ed Davey, the man who wants to take us back to the stone age! And all over some non-existant man-made global wearming scam set up to impoverish us all. Well, all of us except people like Davey who think they're more important than us proles .... DS

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