Another day, another omnishambolic display of incompetence from the coalition – and today, it was DECC’s turn to look like DOSAC with the Secretary of State slapping down his junior minister over wind farms.
This morning’s Mail and Telegraph both report energy minister John Hayes saying “enough is enough”, that we can “no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities”, and it “seems extraordinary” they have been allowed to spread so much throughout the country.
Cue anger from energy secretary Ed Davey, laying bare the splits in his department on the issue, as the BBC’s Chris Mason revealed on News 24 in the past hour:
“I’ve been speaking to a source close to Ed Davey who was pretty strong in saying, come on, this is not government policy, there has been no change in government policy and that Mr Hayes went much further than his ministerial brief allowed him in circulating these words which have now appeared on the front page of several newspapers.
“What appears to have happened here is that Mr Hayes wrote a speech that he was due to give last night to the renewable energy sector, that was run past the boss, Mr Davey, who said ‘no, you can’t say this cos it isn’t government policy’, then he toned down his speech, but either an earlier draft, or a conversation was had between Mr Hayes and the newspapers so his original views have appeared in the public domain.”
And it is not just the Lib Dems Hayes appears at odds with, but Tory grandee Lord Heseltine, whose growth report today makes clear (pp. 117-118, pdf):
“It goes without saying that a secure and affordable supply of energy is essential to everything we do. It also provides opportunities for growth. During a trip to the Humber I hear d from everyone I met the importance to the region of investment in offshore wind. Similarly the Severn Barrage offers the possibility of both a long term source of energy and extraordinary economic regeneration…
“Without real certainty about the UK’s long term energy policy, private investors simply will not risk the enormous sums of capital required to build our energy infrastructure. These problems will not go away. Just as with major infrastructure projects, clear decisions are needed now.”
As Left Foot Forward noted earlier this month, policy uncertainty and subsidy cuts are undemining green investment, with George Osborne’s picking of gas over renewables wrong both environmentally and economically, opening the door for Labour to place green at the heart of its election strategy and truly be the ‘greenest government ever’ if returned to power.
As for the coalition, short of TTOI ‘double-stamping’ between the SoS and MoS in each department, or at the very least Tory and Lib Dem ministers talking to each other, expect this shambolic style of incompetence to keep recurring as the government carry on coalitioning.