Britain's Conservative party pledges to end wind farm subsidies

LONDON, April 24 Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:17am EDT

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LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party on Thursday pledged to end government subsidies for onshore wind farms if it wins a national election next year, saying many voters did not want any more of them.

Michael Fallon, a Conservative energy minister, said that onshore wind still had a role to play in helping Britain meet its energy needs and renewable energy targets, but that the industry no longer required government subsidies.

"We now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there's no requirement for any more," said Fallon, in comments released by his office.

"That's why the next Conservative government will end any additional bill payer subsidy for onshore wind, and give local councils the decisive say on any new wind farms."

The government cut proposed subsidies to support the development of onshore wind late last year, but boosted support for offshore wind. A growing list of companies have recently scaled back plans to build both offshore and onshore wind capacity in Britain.

The future of onshore wind has divided the country's government with Cameron's junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, keen to encourage investment in all forms of renewable energy.

But the Conservative party, whose support base is concentrated in rural communities in the south-east of England where many voters say wind farms are noisy and spoil the landscape, has gone off the technology.

Thursday's announcement cited opposition from local communities.

The Conservatives, the senior partner in the two-party coalition, trail the opposition Labour party in polls by about 4 percentage points. Labour leader Ed Miliband said this month that Britons had to embrace onshore and offshore wind farms. (Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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