POLITICS

Coalition Ministers 'In Battle' Over Renewable Energy Report

20/08/2013 06:20 BST | Updated 20/08/2013 07:37 BST
PA

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has personally blocked a report into renewable energy and the rural economy, it has been claimed, over fears it could expose shortcomings in his department's renewable energy strategy.

The Daily Telegraph claims that Defra sources have revealed an internal battle of wills between Liberal Democrat Davey and Conservative Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who is known to be a wind farm sceptic, regarding publication of the report.

The newspaper 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."

The Telegraph, 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, Paterson is "determined" to publish the findings, despite resistance from 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.