George Osborne wants to introduce powers to restrict the number of wind farms, a move that contradicts his earlier pledge to boost sustainable growth.
In another clumsy contradiction from the chancellor, allowing communities to block wind farms would detract from sustainable growth, something Osborne promised to “shift the balance in favour of” back in March.
The Mail reports:
George Osborne is planning new powers to allow communities to block wind turbines as the coalition row over green energy targets escalates.
Whitehall sources said the chancellor was pushing for changes to the planning regime as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats over the future of climate change policy.
More than 100 Conservative MPs have called for cuts in state subsidies for new turbines, and changes to planning rules to limit their construction
In March, Osborne said to the EEF Manufacturers’ Dinner:
“We’re also taking on reform of the planning system – very soon we’ll come forward with planning rules that shift the balance in favour of sustainable growth and jobs.
“So instead of delay and objection every time you want to expand, the default will be “yes”.”
Research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) outlines how wind energy can contribute to a boost in GDP growth and jobs:
• By 2015, to increase UK GDP by 0.2%, and create over 45,000 full time jobs, delivering employment and economic growth at a time of economic fragility.
• By 2020, to double that GDP contribution to 0.4%, and the number of people employed to over 97,000.
• By 2030, in addition to adding 0.6% GDP growth, and creating 173,000 jobs, the sector will deliver an increase in net exports of £18.8 billion, sufficient to fill nearly 75% of the UK’s current balance of trade deficit.
These benefits will accrue from pursuing current moderate build out rates of offshore wind. A more aggressive, but achievable, approach could see an annual 1% uplift to GDP, the creation of over 200,000 jobs and an increase in net exports of £22.5 billion – almost enough to entirely plug the country’s balance of trade deficit.
With continual chatter surrounding Osborne’s possible replacement, shouldn’t he be avoiding contradictory actions that continue to damage his credibility?