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Onshore Wind Farms

Volume 598: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2015

3. What recent discussions he has had with the First Minister of Scotland on the Government’s decision to end new subsidies for onshore wind farms by April 2016. (900933)

I have regular discussions with the Scottish Government on issues affecting the energy sector, including on our manifesto commitment to end new subsidies for onshore wind. I have also listened to organisations and communities across Scotland who support our policy of an affordable energy mix that also protects Scotland’s natural landscapes.

According to the UK Government’s own report, 5,400 jobs depend on onshore wind. Surely the decision to end the subsidies prematurely puts many of these jobs at risk. Why are the Government so complacent about putting 5,400 jobs at risk?

The Conservative position on this issue was clear heading into the election. Of course the interests of the industry are important, but so are the interests of taxpayers and local communities, and I believe that the policy we have set out gets it right in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.

13. On “Sunday Politics Scotland”, the Secretary of State, following the early closure of the renewables obligation for onshore wind, stated that projects with the prospect of a grid connection would be eligible under the grace period. Will he stick to that commitment? (900944)

I have repeatedly made clear my support for this policy; I believe it is the right thing to do. It is clear in Scotland that the UK Government are on the side of local communities, but the SNP is on the side of developers.

Niall Stuart, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, says of this decision that it is

“bad for jobs, bad for investment and can only hinder Scotland and the UK’s efforts to meet binding climate change targets”.

Why does the Secretary of State think he knows better than Niall Stuart?

I certainly think I know better than the Liberal Democrats, who have been complicit in covering Scotland with wind farm developments. It is clear that ours is a popular policy among communities right across Scotland who do not want to see our landscape covered with unnecessary wind farm developments. I stand behind our policy.