Energy Minister Hayes falsified report to help block wind farm bid

by ClickGreen staff. Published Fri 16 Nov 2012 12:25, Last updated: 2012-11-16
Energy Minister used false data to help block wind farm bid
Energy Minister used false data to help block wind farm bid

Energy Minister John Hayes has been accused of falsifying the findings of an academic research report in an attempt to block a wind farm development near his rural home.

The Conservative MP “twisted and distorted” the results of a university study to wrongly claim turbine noise would blight the lives of local residents.

Whether Mr Hayes deliberately spun the data or received incorrect advice is unclear as he has repeatedly refused to answer ClickGreen's questions over the past 10 days.

In the letter to the Chief Executive of South Holland District Council, the Energy Minister claimed “a report from Salford University has exposed over 33 sites... across the country” where noise had been a nuisance.

However, the 2007 Salford University report found only one site where noise had been found to be a nuisance.

The MP's letter was written on House of Commons' headed paper on July 14, before Mr Hayes was made Energy Minister in September.

And the planning application is still active because the wind farm developers lodged an appeal against the Council's decision to refuse permission and a public inquiry is to be heard next April.

Mr Hayes has refused to confirm if he will withdraw the letter, which carries more weight now he is in a ministerial position with renewable energy in his portfolio.

One of the authors of the Salford University report told ClickGreen the study findings had been “twisted and distorted” by Mr Hayes in a "clear attempt" to persuade his local council to refuse the planning application.

“The report is very clear when it says 'in only one case was the windfarm considered by the local authority to be causing a statutory nuisance. Again, this indicates that, despite press articles to the contrary, the incidence of windfarm noise and AM [amplitude modulation] in the UK is low'.

“Our findings have been turned 180 degrees from their original conclusions in an attempt to block this development.

“Perhaps the Energy Minister should have been careful with his fact-checking and I would hope this letter will now be withdrawn.”

At the beginning of November, ClickGreen revealed the DECC chief blocked plans for the wind farm at West Pinchbeck in Lincolnshire, because he claimed it would lower the value of his property in nearby Spalding.

Mr Hayes also accused renewable energy firms of being “profit hungry” and wanting to cash in on “taxpayer funded subsidies and credits”.

The application for an initial two 126-metre turbines was rejected on the same day Hayes was appointed as minister at DECC.

He opposed the plans for the site - less than seven miles from his property – saying he shared the concerns of his constituents and listed a dozen objections, including a dip in the value of properties in the area.

Hayes claimed the size of the turbines would have a “detrimental impact on the quality of life for local residents, the attractiveness of the area and its potential for tourism”.

He also said the scheme would have a “negative impact on local house prices”.

In addition, the Energy Minister described wind turbines as being “extremely inefficient and costly” and argued that they “will always be backed up by conventional power stations because of their unreliability”.

And he repeated the myth that wind power adds “considerable cost” to household energy bills.

In his personal letter revealed today, Mr Hayes asserts again that wind farms are “extremely inefficient and costly” and adds that they “create barely a trickle of non-storable electricity”.

His outspoken views will strengthen calls for his responsibility for the renewable energy sector to be removed from his ministerial portfolio following a press briefing last month in which he claimed the English countryside was being “peppered” with turbines and threatened “enough is enough”.

A spokesman for DECC said: “Mr Hayes is not the decision maker for major energy proposals. Energy consents are within the portfolio of Greg Barker.”

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Comments about Energy Minister Hayes falsified report to help block wind farm bid

Harvey, stand 500/1000m down wind & you hear & feel them, I’ve got 30 near me. 13% av output over last 3 mths, Expensive & wrong technology
john, wales around 3 years ago
What a load of tosh . Stand under a wind turbine. You will hear the wind blowing not the any noise from the turbine.
harvey, durrington around 3 years ago
He quoted from a report - how is that 'falsified'? Your headline is outrageous and should be amended as such.
Dom, London around 3 years ago
the salford report is flawed and has been admitted by the IoA as being in six windfarms with noise problems in the report - read it
chas, melton mowbray around 3 years ago

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