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John Hayes' 'Petulant Outburst' On Wind Farms Attacked By Environmental Groups

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Ed Davey has slapped down John Hayes over wind farms | PA

Environmental groups have reacted with horror to reports energy minister John Hayes' wants to block the construction of any more wind farms.

The Tory minister has triggered a public row with his Lib Dem secretary of state boss Ed Davey, after saying the "extraordinary" spread of turbines should no longer be "imposed on communities".

Hayes told the Daily Mail: "We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.

Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Leila Deen attacked the minister for having a "petulant outburst" against wind farms which she said would threaten jobs and drive up energy bills.

“Here is a new minister veering off brief and publicly contradicting his bosses," she said. "John Hayes’ petulant outburst adds to the Coalition’s growing energy shambles and to a deepening divide within government between those who care about green growth and the economy and those who just want more oil and gas.

"Cameron needs to take charge, decide who’s side he’s on and reassure industry and investors that John Hayes won't go over their heads and make policy over the phone to the Daily Mail.”

In opposition David Cameron tried to bolster his environmental credentials by declaring: "vote blue, go green". But in a sign of deepening splits between the Tories and the Lib Dems on the issue, Nick Clegg told his party conference that in order to get a green government voters had to "add yellow" to the Tory blue.

Nick Molho, the head of energy policy at the WWF said Hayes' comments showed the prime minister was "asleep at the wheel" on energy policy.

"It also beggars belief that he should come out with them on a day when Michael Heseltine, in a report to the Prime Minister, has highlighted the need for a clear and consistent long term energy policy and framework to unlock economic growth," he said.

“With the Energy Bill just weeks away, David Cameron needs to get a grip on his government. The prime minister currently appears to be asleep at the wheel on energy policy, with George Osborne a back seat driver colour-blind to green growth. If it carries on like this, our energy future is going to crash."

And Friends of the Earth said: "“The new Jerusalem the Minister should focus on is one built out of thousands of small enterprises generating their own electricity, or playing a vital role in making or building clean British energy.”

Energy secretary Ed Davey slapped down his minister on Wednesday morning, insisting there had been "no change to government policy".

We set out in the Renewable Energy Roadmap in July 2011 how we expect to reach our target of getting 30% of all UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“We’ve put in place support to bring on growth in new industries to deploy the technologies needed to diversify our energy mix in the most cost-effective way.

“There are no targets - or caps - for individual renewable technologies such as onshore wind. Nor are there reviews being done of onshore wind on the basis of landscape or property values.