Return to Campaigns

Knight Welcomes ‘Death Knell’ Pledge on New Windfarms

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed the pledge by the Conservative Party that they will not subsidise any new onshore wind farms if they win the 2015 General Election.

The change in policy comes following representations by Sir Greg and his parliamentary colleague Chris Heaton Harris MP who have led a campaign against onshore windfarm subsidies.

In welcoming the commitment Sir Greg said that there had been a divide in the coalition on this issue. “Unfortunately the Liberal Democrat part of the coalition government is in love with wind farms but wind farms drive up energy bills and blight the countryside. As we have enough onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable commitments there should now be a halt to their construction. Certainly I do not want to see any more wind farms in East Yorkshire”.

Sir Greg added: “Without the subsidy of public money new onshore windfarms will not be viable”.

Sir Greg, who has campaigned against wind farms for several years, also welcomed the Conservative commitment to change the law within six months of winning the election so all onshore wind farm applications would be handled by local planning authorities giving local people the final say on what happens in their area.

However, The Times newspaper’s Environment Editor Ben Webster revealed earlier this year that if Labour win the May General Election, the Party has secretly promised the renewables industry that “thousands more wind turbines will be built across the countryside”.

In the House of Commons, Sir Greg is one of the sponsors of a Parliamentary Bill to immediately end onshore windfarm subsidies but this is being opposed by Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.

Knight in Campaign to Cut Wind Farm Subsidies

East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight is one of over 100 Conservative MPs who are campaigning for the £400 million-a-year subsidies paid to the onshore wind turbine industry to be cut.

The MPs are also calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to tighten up planning laws so that local people have a better chance of stopping new farms being developed and protecting the countryside.

There are currently more than 3,000 onshore wind turbines in Britain and at the current subsidy levels at least 4,500 more are expected to be constructed over the coming years. These wind farms receive hundreds of millions of pounds from the Government and much of this cash ends up in the hands of energy companies and investment funds based abroad.

Mr Knight, who has long actively campaigned against wind farms said, “Wind farms are inefficient and unreliable. The wind cannot be guaranteed to blow at times of greatest energy demand. They are also extremely unsightly, blighting one of our most valuable natural resources – the countryside”.

Mr Knight added: “Wind farms are forcing up energy bills and swallowing disproportionate amounts of taxpayer-funded subsidies. It is wrong in these financially difficult times that hard-pressed consumers must pay for the expansion of inefficient, intermittent and unsightly onshore wind power.

Mr Knight is one of a number of signatories of a letter sent to the Prime Minister last week on this subject.

He is also due to meet the Environment Minister Richard Benyon MP later this month to discuss ways of protecting the beauty of the Yorkshire Wolds from inappropriate windfarm development and preserving it for future generations.

East Yorkshire MP Steps Up Wind Farms Fight

The European Union wants a major expansion of onshore wind farm development across Europe to help meet their green targets.

However there is increasing opposition to this form of green energy, with critics claiming that they are inefficient, expensive and a major blight on the landscape.

A new Parliamentary Group has been set up to fight further wind farm blight and this has been joined by East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight.

The new group is chaired by the MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative.

Greg Knight said: “Our Ministers need to look at this policy again. Wind Farms are an inefficient technology, they add to the bills of consumers because of their huge subsidy and it is the wrong renewable for the UK. We need to change the policy.”

There are about 3,000 onshore wind turbines with a few hundred dotted around off the coast of Britain.

Mr Knight added: “Wind Farms generate less than two per cent of the nation’s power and only produce energy around 30 per cent of the time. When the wind is not blowing – or even blowing too fast as in the recent storms – other sources of electricity have to be used, mostly gas and coal.”

A pledge to cut emissions, written into law in last Labour government’s Climate Change Act, requires a major expansion of renewable energy development.

Forecasts have suggested that the requirement for more wind energy will add £280 to average energy bills by 2020.

A study in the Netherlands recently found that turning on and off gas power stations used as a back-up to cover spells when there is little wind, actually produces more carbon than a steady supply of energy from an efficient modern gas station.

Mr Knight says he wants to see more work done to harness wave power. He says there is as much as 27GW of electricity in the sea to be harnessed, -the equivalent of eight nuclear power stations – “a huge resource that is going untapped.”

“Marine energy is about harnessing the power of the sea – including big waves and tidal currents – to generate electricity. Analysis released by the Carbon Trust in May last year showed the UK could create over 68,000 jobs in this emerging sector.”

“Britain is an island, and we should be using our long shoreline rather than desecrating our beautiful landscape,” he says.

Return to Campaigns