Green groups recoil at Cameron's gov't

Sept. 6, 2012 at 7:09 AM
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LONDON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Supporters of renewable energy expressed concern over decisions by British Prime Minister David Cameron to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Cameron unveiled sweeping changes in his Cabinet this week. He replaced British Minister of State for Energy Charles Hendry with John Hayes, a lawmaker from the Conservative Party.

Pro-green trade groups said Hendry's departure was a "disappointment."

British newspaper The Daily Telegraph quoted Hayes as saying "renewable energy needs to pass the twin tests of environmental and economic sustainability and wind power fails on both counts."

An energy road map published in 2011 calls for 18 megawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by the end of the decade. The United Kingdom aims to generate 15 percent of its overall energy from renewable resources by 2020.

"You simply can't be an energy minister while at the same time vehemently opposing wind power which is essential to delivering legally binding targets," a Greenpeace official told the newspaper.

Hayes, in a statement, said his appointment comes at a "crucial time" for energy security and climate issues.

"We face a major challenge to keep the lights on in the most cost-effective way," he said. "In achieving this, we must not be over-reliant on any one technology, but build a balanced low-carbon mix and make the best use of Britain's domestic energy resources and skilled workforce."

British newspaper The Guardian quotes a senior lawmaker as saying on condition of anonymity that Cameron's new government represents a "serious lurch to the right."

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