Grant Shapps hints Rishi Sunak WILL U-turn on onshore wind farm ban

Ministers indicated today that Rishi Sonak might reconsider the ban of new onshore wind farm in the face Tory rebellion.

Grant Shapps, Business Secretary, denied that there was a’massive gap’ between the PM’ and rebels who want the moratorium lifted.

He Sunak suggested Mr Sunak support easing rules so that wind farms can be built onshore, with local consent. However, he was a strong advocate of keeping the restriction during the leadership campaign.

Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, former premiers, are just a few of the thirty Conservatives that backed Simon Clarke’s pro-wind amendment in the Levelling Up Bill.

Labour has vowed to support the change and the government is looking down on defeat if there is a vote, which could happen before Christmas.

As he faces pressure to’reset his premiership’, it is the latest revolt against Sunak just one month after he was elected to power.  

Mr Shapps, who downplayed the importance of the windfarm row, said to Times Radio that it was the most overwritten story he’d ever read.

“The fact that backbenchers have an amendment in is literally something that occurs every day in Parliament.

“And his amend, which is saying that local people should have final vote, is exactly what Rishi said when it was last discussed, and what I’ve said about it in the past.”

He He added, “It just strikes you that it’s really not a row.”

“We are all basically saying the exact same thing.” Because wind power can cause significant damage to the environment, you need to get local consent.

Herr Shapps also spoke. Sky News that it is ‘to present the gulf as some kind of massive gulf’ is false.

The Levelling Up Bill Amendment would allow wind farm development in rural areas that have received community consent.

Ministers suggested today that Rishi Sunak would back down on the ban on new offshore wind farms, in the face a Tory revolt

An amendment by Simon Clarke, a former Tory minister, to allow farms in areas where there is community consent has been supported by more than 30 Tories. Labour may also support it

Grant Shapps, the Business Secretary, denies that there is a “massive divide” between the PM and rebels who want lift the moratorium.

No 10 suggested that Mr Shapps was referring to existing rules. However, the requirements for community consent set in 2015 are so difficult to comply with that they constitute an effective moratorium of new onshore wind project development.

During his unsuccessful Tory leadership run in the summer election, Mr Sunak promised to keep the ban intact. However, he indicated a preference to build more offshore turbines.

Asked if the Business Secretary was signalling an imminent U-turn, Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said: ‘You’ve got our position – I’m sure he’s (Mr Shapps) pointing to the rules that are already in place, to allow for consultation.’

Exemplifying on the Prime Minister’s position, the spokesperson said: “The worst thing we could do is alienate people.

“We want to fulfill our commitments, and we have an affordable source of energy in offshore winds.

The official was asked if the Prime Minster is open to loosening planning restrictions. He replied that he wasn’t aware of any imminent changes.

He The Government Considers Bill Amendments ‘as they are presented’. Mr Sunak is seeking views from both sides of the issue.

According to the spokesman, he was unsure if the Commons leader has provided a timeline for the Bill but said that they would do it ‘in the normal way’.

Mr Sharma, who was the president of the Cop26 climate summit, said at the weekend that he supports letting ‘local communities decide’, backing residents being given reduced energy bills in exchange for their support of new developments.

He tweeted, “Onshore wind is one the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy and will help to boost the UK’s energy security.”

‘Putin’s illegal and brutal war in Ukraine has reinforced that climate & environmental security are totally interlinked with energy and national security

“Faster deployment, including onshore wind, of renewables is required to meet the UK’s 2035, 100% clean electricity target.”

The Prime Minister is facing major challenges from the Conservative Party on multiple fronts regarding planning policy.

He When around 50 Tory MPs threatened rebellion, I was forced to withdraw a vote on legislation that would have set a goal of building 300,000. Homes per year.

Johnson didn’t seek to reverse the effective moratorium for new onshore wind farms, which had been in place since 2015 when he was PM.

At the same time Mr Sunak is being hammered by MPs who demanding he cuts the windfall tax that targets excess profits made by gas and oil  firms in the past year. 

They claim that it could stop production in the North Sea completely, which would impact domestic security and job opportunities.

The tax, which is popular in the UK, was raised from 25 to 35 percent in Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement. It will be removed in 2028 and not 2025. 

Sharma said that he supports letting local communities decide, and supporting residents being offered lower energy bills in exchange to their support for new developments.

Craig Mackinlay MP (chairman of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group) told the Telegraph that he wanted more domestically produced energy. Taxing more energy domestically does not result in more domestically-derived energy.

“Some supersized companies are able to accept that they have enjoyed some success for a while. But what happens if those good times do not last? What happens if your profit is smaller and more normal? Is it possible to tax at 75%? It is too blunt.

And John Redwood added: ‘We need to get as much oil and gas out of the North Sea as possible.

“I don’t believe it is an income tax if it doesn’t stop when profits drop – it is just another business tax that is temporarily generating large amounts of income, but has suffered heavy losses in the past.