Tories turning against Solar? (UPDATED)


The Government announcements this week that subsidies for solar farms are to be cut drastically came as no surprise to many. Renewables of all types are under attack on multiple fronts from back-bencher sniping to DCLG interfering with the planning appeals system.

Meanwhile new tax breaks for tearing up the countryside with fracking sites were announced in the Autumn statement, together with a promise for thousands of new jobs and cheap(er) gas. Presumabley these are to replace the thousands that were shed last year when the solar industry almost imploded after cuts exceeding 50% or the thousands more that will be lost as onshore wind and solar developers simply give up on the UK.  Only quite recently Danish giant Vestas pulled out of  a major wind turbine assembly plant in Kent.

So just why is the Government so keen to break their ‘green promise’, destroy an industry and loose thousands of jobs in order to promote fracking as the only way forward? The cynical reader might suspect powerful lobbying by the oil and gas industry or perhaps even vested interests coming to the fore. Whichever, it is becoming clear that a change of government may be needed if the migration to a low carbon economy is to become a reality.


If attacking wind wasn’t enough it now looks like the Conservatives have turned their attention to Solar PV. Planning Resource highlights a recent appeal case for a solar farm in Suffolk where the Planning Inspector independently ruled the proposals could go ahead only to be overturned by DCLG minister Eric Pickles who said:

“The secretary of state agrees with the inspector that the harm to the character and appearance of the area would not amount to significant adverse effects but, nevertheless, considers the effect on the character of the site, although limited, would be adverse.”

This decision beggars belief and has caused warning bells to ring within the renewables industry.

It would appear this is further evidence of the current “fracking or bust” policy.