Ministers row over 'negative' renewable energy report
A Government report on renewable energy and the rural economy is being blocked by the Energy Secretary, it has been claimed.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has blocked the report carried out by the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs over fears it could expose shortcomings in his department’s renewable energy strategy, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper claims that Defra sources have revealed an internal battle of wills between Liberal Democrat Mr Davey and Conservative Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who is known to be a wind farm sceptic, regarding publication of the report.
The Daily Telegraph writes: “It is claimed that figures in the Decc are concerned that the report, which has not been completed, could include negative conclusions about how renewable energy affects the rural economy.”
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The newspaper, which has campaigned against wind farms, adds that the report “could provide official confirmation that the controversial turbines can harm rural areas”.
According to the Telegraph’s sources, Mr Paterson is “determined” to publish the findings, despite resistance from Mr Davey.
The newspaper adds that Defra sources attacked Decc for allowing their judgement to be clouded by “ideology” rather than scientific evidence.
The source is quoted as saying: “They (Decc) don’t want information out there that would allow people to challenge the energy solution that they are going after.”
The Telegraph story does not determine whether the report, which has yet to be completed, challenges the idea that wind farms are a green form of energy.
A Government spokesman said: "We need to ensure that energy is generated in a way that is sustainable and understand the effects that different technologies have on the environment and on communities across the country.
“DECC and Defra are working together on this report, which is not yet complete, to ensure that it meets the usual standards and quality assurances that you would expect from any Government publication.
“A diverse energy mix is the best way to meet our energy security requirements, our climate change commitments and keep energy bills affordable.”
No deadline or publication date was given.
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said of the row: "Onshore wind power is the cheapest and most developed form of clean energy, with the potential to create thousands of badly-needed new jobs in Britain.
“But Government splits are undermining this key growth industry and putting Britain’s energy security at risk.
“David Cameron promised to lead the ‘greenest government ever’ but his failure to control his own ministers and MPs is scaring away investors and job-creators in the clean energy industry.”