Green Energy Lobby Fears Over New Energy Minister
Concerns have been raised over Britain’s energy policy after a respected minister was axed in favour of one who has voiced opposition to wind farms but lacks experience of the sector.
Charles Hendry, who has held the energy brief for four years and has described wind power as “vital”, was replaced by fellow Tory John Hayes in Tuesday’s reshuffle.
Mr Hayes has been quoted as saying wind farms are a “terrible intrusion” and “renewable energy needs to pass the twin tests of environmental and economic sustainability and wind power fails on both counts”.
The switch is the latest sign that senior Conservatives are unhappy with the green policies of the energy department, which is headed by Lib-Dem Ed Davey.
Mr Hendry had been finalising the Energy Bill, a complex piece of legislation that he was about to take through the Commons.
Renewable Energy Association chief Gaynor Hartnell said Mr Hendry’s exit was “a surprise and a disappointment” and Mr Hayes’ comments “don’t bode well”.
Doug Parr of Greenpeace said: “You simply can’t be an energy minister while at the same time vehemently opposing wind power which is essential to delivering legally binding targets.”
David Smith of the Energy Networks Association said Mr Hendry’s “vast knowledge and experience” had delivered a valuable, balanced approach. “He leaves very big shoes to be filled and will be missed,” he added.
Analysts at RBC Capital Markets noted Mr Hayes had “limited direct experience of energy policy”.
Mr Hayes declined to say if he still held the same views on wind, but said: “We must not be over-reliant on any one technology.”