Grant Shapps: ‘ I don

Shapps hints at government climbdown over onshore wind

Grant Shapps has signalled that the government will back down and lift the onshore wind farm ban to thwart a growing backbench rebellion over the issue. 

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Shapps said “there will be more” onshore wind farms “over time”.

He added: “We already have quite a lot of onshore wind. … I think, the key test for onshore wind [is whether it gives] some benefit to communities locally.”

Former prime ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson are among more than 30 Conservatives backing a pro-wind amendment to the levelling up bill. Simon Clarke, the former levelling up secretary, is leading the revolt. 

There has been an effective moratorium on new onshore wind projects since 2015.

Mr Clarke’s amendment would create a system which would allow projects to get off the ground as long as there is adequate public consent.

Talking also to Times Radio, the business secretary claimed there is “not really a row” between backbench Conservatives, insisting that the parliamentary party “are all basically saying the same thing”.

He remarked: “It’s the most extraordinarily overwritten story I’ve read.”

Mr Shapps was asked this morning if the Government could accept the amendment and he told Times Radio: “I haven’t studied the detail of it and what it would mean yet. … [But] you need local consent if you are going to have wind power onshore because it can be quite a big imposition on the local environment.

“That seems to me to be what I’ve said, what Simon Clarke has said as the proposer of this amendment. It’s what the prime minister has said. So you know, I just don’t recognise the way this has been presented at all”.

Asked to comment on Matt Hancock finishing third on ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”, Mr Shapps said: “You know, it’s often said that… politics is show business for ugly people. He should be with us uglies back in the House rather than the jungle down under”.

He added: “I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to him about it but I suspect he may have already reached that conclusion. Why would you go off and spend all that time in the jungle if you were going to carry on in Parliament? I’m only speculating”.