Coalition war over report critical of UK wind farms
Tory Owen Paterson 'furious' at Lib Dem Ed Davey's efforts to block report critical of renewables
THE coalition government is at war over a report believed to be critical of the impact of wind farms and renewable energy on the British countryside.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) — which is run by Liberal Democrat Ed Davey — is anxious to block the publication of the report, commissioned by Conservative Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, a well-known opponent of the proliferation of onshore wind farms. Paterson is reportedly "furious" at the efforts to stifle his department and is determined to release the study, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Sources in Paterson's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) told the paper that senior figures in Davey's department are more concerned with "ideology" than scientific evidence.
"This is our department," one Defra source said. "We are doing this report. It is part of our remit."
Paterson has made no secret of his disdain for wind farms. In June, he said that onshore turbines were often regarded as a "complete scam".
He is not opposed to all alternative energy projects, however. Sources told the Telegraph he is in favour of "appropriate renewables" and is not opposed to some biomass projects and the oil and gas extraction technique known as fracking.
Although DECC's senior officials have not seen the Defra paper it is believed that they have concerns about the "principle of [the] report and what they fear may be documented about some renewables", sources said.
DECC also appears to have issues with the quality of Defra's research. A DECC spokesman said: "We are currently working with Defra to ensure that a final report meets the usual standards and quality assurances that you would expect from any government publication."
The Telegraph points out that the row is reminiscent of a dispute last year between Davey and John Hayes, the former energy minister. Davey "slapped down" his Tory colleague after Hayes predicted that the spread of wind farms across the UK would be halted because "enough is enough". ·