Control of Offshore Wind Turbines Bill

– in the House of Commons at 12:02 pm on 16 January 2015.

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Second Reading

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 12:11, 16 January 2015

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

This is the first opportunity I have had in my time in this place to introduce a balloted Bill as a private Member’s Bill. I was lucky enough to come 17th in the ballot and I took a punt on whether it was likely to find time to debate the issue if I put my Bill forward for this day. I am delighted that the stars have been so aligned that I have the opportunity to speak at greater length on the subject than I was able to do last year, when a similar Bill called the Control of Offshore Wind Turbines Bill 2013-14 had its Second Reading debate on 17 January. Unfortunately, on that occasion the debate started at 2.25 pm and lasted for only five minutes, although even during that short debate my right hon. Friend Michael Fallon, the present Secretary of State for Defence, who was then the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, was able to say that he could not support the Bill.

In the hope that I will be able to persuade the Government of the merits of my Bill, I have expanded its scope slightly for this Session. I also have some heavyweight supporters—my hon. Friends the Members for Bournemouth West (Conor Burns), and for South Dorset (Richard Drax), the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend Mr Ellwood, my hon. Friends the Members for New Forest East (Dr Lewis), for Poole (Mr Syms) and for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), my right hon. Friend Sir Greg Knight and my hon. Friend Mr Evans—a formidable collection. I am delighted to see my hon. Friends the Members for Bury North (Mr Nuttall) and for Shipley (Philip Davies) in the Chamber today.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether any of those right hon. and hon. Members have ever visited north Wales, where we have a £3 billion-plus economy based on offshore wind, which would be destroyed by his Bill?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

I am not sure that it would be destroyed by the Bill. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we had a debate about that in Westminster Hall a few weeks ago, and I heard then the case for north Wales. The point I put to him is that if that great development in north Wales is so good, why can it not be sustained without taxpayers’ subsidy?

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The issue is not just the taxpayers’ subsidy. Clause 1(1) states:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected within fifteen miles of the coast of England and Wales”.

Clause 1(3) states:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed . . . if it would form part of a group of wind turbines which totals more than one hundred”.

In my constituency area we depend on a large amount of investment, which would be destroyed by both aspects of clause 1.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

The right hon. Gentleman is wrong about that. The provisions do not apply retrospectively, so as the wind turbines are already there, nothing in the Bill requires that they be removed.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

We are halfway through the development of wind turbines in the north Wales area, and there are more opportunities that would be destroyed by the hon. Gentleman’s Bill. Perhaps we can discuss that later.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

That is just the sort of point of detail that it would be worth discussing in Committee, so I hope the right hon. Gentleman will allow the Bill to proceed.

Photo of Karl Turner Karl Turner Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons), Shadow Solicitor General

It is disappointing for me to hear that Sir Greg Knight supports the Bill, which would be very damaging to East Yorkshire and my region, Hull. We have just attracted a £310 million joint investment from Siemens and Associated British Ports—an investment in my area which will transform the prospects for people in the city and the wider region. The Bill would clearly damage something that has not quite started yet.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

I hear the point that the hon. Gentleman makes, but surely it is important that we should have an industrial policy which does not require indiscriminate taxpayer subsidy. What the hon. Gentleman describes is a situation where, because the Government are intent on the manic proposal to develop so many offshore wind farms, and because most of the technology is from overseas and almost all the profits from those wind farms go back overseas, the Government have decided that the only way they could try to mitigate the situation—and it is only a small amount of mitigation—would be by putting additional subsidies into supporting the manufacturing industry in places such as the hon. Gentleman’s area.

Photo of Karl Turner Karl Turner Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons), Shadow Solicitor General

Clearly, the hon. Gentleman does not support his party’s manifesto, but that is a side issue. The issue for me is that in Hull, Siemens will manufacture wind turbines to be exported around the world. It is a fantastic opportunity for people to get into good quality employment in my area. It is terribly disappointing that the hon. Gentleman’s colleague who has a seat in the region is attacking that idea.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

The hon. Gentleman says that the wind turbines are to be exported around the world. In fact, we are being used as a test bed for developing offshore wind activity at a time when many other countries are reining back on it. Ironically, Denmark, from where much of the technology emanated and where there are already many offshore wind farms, has decided that enough is enough and it is not going to build any more, because of the ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money in subsidising them. Similarly, Germany has decided to rein back on offshore wind. We are on our own in this. The hon. Gentleman is suffering from a delusion if he thinks the development in his constituency will be on the back of an enormous global export business. The Government have decided that in order to make a presentational case, they will subsidise the manufacture of the turbines in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

Has my hon. Friend noticed the remarkable situation in that it was not long ago that the Labour party claimed to be the champion of low energy bills, yet now Labour Members in the Chamber are arguing vociferously for a form of energy that does more to put up energy bills than anything else? Has my hon. Friend noticed the great contradiction in the points made by Opposition Members?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

As so often, my hon. Friend is spot on.

Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Opposition Whip (Commons), Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)

The hon. Gentleman talks about subsidy. Nuclear power, which I support, needs a subsidy, and we have security of supply, which is very important, as a result. Is he opposed to nuclear power on the same grounds?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

This Bill is about offshore wind turbines, and the subsidies going to those are twice as much as any subsidy going into the nuclear industry. Let me tell the hon. Gentleman what was said in an article in The Economist on 4 January 2014:

“Unfortunately, offshore wind power is staggeringly expensive. Dieter Helm, an economist at Oxford University, describes it as ‘among the most expensive ways of marginally reducing carbon emissions known to man’. Under a subsidy system unveiled late in 2013, the government guarantees farms at sea £155…per megawatt hour for their juice. That is three times the current wholesale price of electricity and about 60% more than is promised to onshore turbines. It is also more than the £92.50 which Britain’s new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point will get—though that deal is for 35 years, not 15.”

That is the situation succinctly expressed, showing beyond doubt that the taxpayer subsidies going into offshore wind are obscene. The only people who support offshore wind are those whom I must describe as subsidy junkies.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

My constituents already face the extension of an existing wind farm, Scout Moor. Can my hon. Friend assure them that this Bill would not increase the pressure to have more onshore wind turbines? That would be a cause of great concern for my constituents, who are of course completely landlocked.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

I agree with my hon. Friend. One of the ironies of the situation is that because of pressure from people such as my hon. Friend and members of the public concerned about onshore wind turbines, the Government reduced the subsidies for onshore wind turbines, but in so doing chose to increase the subsidies for offshore wind turbines. I am sure he will be pleased to know that one of our hon. Friends is to have a Bill on the Order Paper to remove subsidies from onshore wind turbines as well, and that will have my support in due course. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”]

On that buoyant note, let me go on to describe the provisions of this Bill. As is implicit in the fact that support for it is largely centred on Members of Parliament in the area around Christchurch bay and Poole bay, a developer is intent on constructing there a wind farm that would be the largest in the world and would have an enormous environmental impact on the local community. It is a joint venture between Eneco Wind UK Ltd and EDF Energy Renewables. The developer wants to construct and operate what it calls Navitus Bay wind park, which would be bigger than any other wind farm currently in operation and the first to be proposed adjacent to a vibrant leisure economy, adjoining a coast of outstanding natural beauty, and bordering a world heritage site. It would comprise up to 194 industrial-scale 200-metre-tall wind turbines; each one would be 15% taller than the Spinnaker tower. They would dominate Poole bay, occupying 153 sq km—an area similar in size to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole combined. At their nearest points, they would be 9.1 miles from Swanage, 10.9 miles from the Isle of Wight, and 13.3 miles from Bournemouth. The Government guidelines say that no wind turbine should be constructed offshore within a 12 nautical mile limit, and these proposals do not comply with that.

The wind farm is controversial and contentious. As evidence of that, the plans for the development have received almost 2,700 interested representations—the highest number for any proposed offshore wind farm that the Planning Inspectorate has handled. I have not been able to bring along the filing cabinet containing all the representations that I have received from outraged constituents, but I know that I am speaking not just for my constituents, but for those of my hon. Friends along the south coast, in expressing our concern and outrage at what is being planned.

Bournemouth borough council believes that the wind farm

“will cause serious harm to the intrinsic appeal and beauty of Poole Bay’s natural seascape. The industrialisation of our beautiful coastal setting will have an unprecedented and damaging effect on the local economy.”

Surveys carried out by the developer in 2012 and 2013 show that over 1 million visitors a year will stop coming to the area, taking more than £100 million of income from the local economy. As a result of taxpayer subsidy going into developments in Hull, the economy there may receive a temporary boost, but as a direct consequence, on the admission of the developer, there will be a loss of £100 million a year to the local economy, mainly the tourist economy, in the area that I have the privilege to represent. That loss of real spending in our area would negatively affect local businesses and potentially result in business failures, with an estimated loss of some 2,000 jobs. For that reason, the local councils have joined together to spend a lot of money on campaigning against this wind farm development.

I think it is a useful exercise to reinforce those concerns by introducing this Bill. Clause 1 covers the location and height of wind turbines. Subsection (1) says:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected within fifteen miles of the coast”.

That is a necessary minimum requirement that has particular regard to the Government’s guidelines.

Subsection (2) says:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected within twenty miles of the coast…to a height exceeding 100m as measured by the highest point of the turbine blade above sea level from the date of commencement of this Act.”

That means, in effect, that if there are going to be very tall wind turbines that will be more visible, they need to be situated further offshore than those that are not so tall. The article in The Economist referred to the situation in Edinburgh, where a wind turbine under construction was nudging 200 metres in height—and what a monstrosity it was. We are talking about not just one such turbine, but getting on for 200, off the coast of Dorset. Subsection (3) says:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected off shore if it would form part of a group of wind turbines which totals more than one hundred and no group of wind turbines shall be constructed or erected off shore within fifteen miles of any other such group.”

That is designed to reduce the visual and other impacts of such developments, and to stop them appearing like an industrial landscape out at sea.

We now come to a very sensitive matter. Subsection (4) states:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected offshore within twenty miles of any World Heritage site.”

I would have thought that that was a fundamental point and I am amazed and extremely disappointed that the Government have been so laid back in their response to UNESCO’s concerns about the impact of the Navitus Bay wind park on the world heritage site known as the Jurassic coast. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is supposed to be the guardian of the Jurassic coast. It is promoted as a great tourist centre and we are trying to attract visitors to admire the coast.

UNESCO says that the project’s potential impacts on the natural property of the Jurassic coast

“are in contradiction to the overarching principle of the World Heritage Convention as stipulated in its Article 4, as the completion of the Project would result in the property being presented and transmitted to future generations in a form that is significantly different from what was there at the time of inscription and until today. Specifically, the property will change from being located in a natural setting that is largely free from human-made structures to one where its setting is dominated by human-made structures.”

That is slightly flowery language, but what UNESCO is saying, in essence, is that putting 200 wind turbines so close the Jurassic coast would turn it from being a natural landscape into an industrial landscape. UNESCO wrote in its letter to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 4 May 2014 that it wanted its comments to be taken into account in deciding whether the matter should even go to a public inquiry. Instead of responding to that request, DCMS Ministers simply shuffled off UNESCO’s representations to the public inquiry itself, which was a completely wrong-headed way of dealing with such major concerns.

There are a lot of examples around Europe and the rest of the world of UNESCO withdrawing world heritage status from sites that have been adversely affected by development. Only yesterday, a colleague from elsewhere in Europe drew my attention to the fact that, because of an insistence on building an unsightly bridge, part of the city of Dresden lost its world heritage status. We cannot be complacent. We need to look at the substance of the issue. Surely it does not make sense to build such monstrosities so close to a world heritage site, and that is what clause 1(4) covers. Subsection (5) sets out the way in which the

“distance between a wind turbine and the coast shall be measured”.

Clause 2 covers the operation of wind turbines and states:

“No wind turbine situated in or within five miles of an established area used by migrating birds shall be operated during the season for bird migration.”

This is a very big issue. Unlike perhaps the coast of north Wales, the coast of Dorset, Hampshire and the

Isle of Wight is frequented by migrating birds. It is extraordinary that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has not been more active in campaigning against the development, because it could have an enormous adverse impact on the migrating bird population.

In the summer months, almost all of the 4,500 nightjars in this country are located in and around New Forest and the Dorset heathland. People cannot develop within 400 metres of the heathland because their dogs or cats might attack the habitat of nightjars, Dartford warblers and so on. We are at great pains to protect the habitat of the nightjar on the Dorset heathlands, but when those nightjars wish to migrate in August they will have to go through a mass of enormous wind turbines extending to 200 metres in height. As their name suggests, nightjars travel at night and the impact of the turbines on their migratory pattern will be immense.

One of the main reasons there has been a significant decline in the number of migrating birds coming into the United Kingdom—this has been witnessed by lots of bird watchers—is the impact of wind turbines, not just off our shore, but off the shores of other countries through which those birds migrate during spring or autumn.

Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Opposition Whip (Commons), Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)

What evidence does the hon. Gentleman have that the birds seem to know that the wind farms are there and therefore do not come? That seems to be what he is saying. Is there any evidence to show that wind farms have that effect?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

There is actually a mass of evidence. I have a great volume of material, largely from America, because that is where most of the data come from—

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

Yes, the United States—the hon. Gentleman may not have heard of it. The material shows clearly the impact of wind farms on migrating birds. Obviously, given that these wind turbines are stuck out in the middle of the ocean, it is very difficult to show that so many birds have been killed by their rotating blades at night. We should, however, give the benefit of the doubt to the migrating birds, and one way of doing that would be to ensure that the wind turbines do not operate during the migrating season. That should not be a great burden, because whenever there is a patch of really cold weather, they do not operate anyway, so when we really need that energy and have high pressure, if there is no wind and the turbines do not rotate, they do not generate any electricity or make a contribution to the national grid. Clause 2, therefore, states that we should extend the non-operation of wind turbines to the period when birds migrate, rather than confine it to those times when there is no wind. If we were talking about just one or two wind turbines, it would be possible to argue that the birds can go round them, but we are talking about wind turbines that are close together and that each has a 200-metre wide reach—there is also vortex that they generate—and birds in their vicinity almost certain to fall foul of them and die as a result.

Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Opposition Whip (Commons), Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)

Does the hon. Gentleman not accept that, certainly from the evidence I have seen, bird numbers as a whole are suffering as a result of pesticides and other pollutants? Many of them come from coal-fired power stations, of which, after getting rid of wind turbines, he would no doubt want to see more?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

I am a great bird lover, and I do not want any decline in the bird population, but we are talking about particular species that migrate to the south of England after travelling hundreds of miles. We already have restricted numbers of them, and certain species of migrating birds will probably be in effect wiped out at a time when we are saying that we want to look after heathland habitats, which I support.

Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

The hon. Gentleman is pursuing an interesting line of inquiry. Like my hon. Friend Mark Tami, may I ask what data the hon. Gentleman has about the impact of catastrophic climate change on migrating bird numbers and patterns?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

I am not sure what the hon. Gentleman means by “catastrophic climate change”. The Chinese have said that they will continue to increase their carbon emissions until at least 2030. If we are trying to counter that by putting our migrating bird population into such jeopardy, we have a completely distorted sense of priorities.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The hon. Gentleman must know only too well that the Chinese have in fact said that their emissions will peak no later than 2030, with the expectation that they may well peak earlier. In relation to the carbon footprint of China, they are operating at a far lower per capita level than we are.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

All I can say to the hon. Gentleman is that I am sure that that will be a great consolation to the bird population. We in our country are responsible for less than 2% of global emissions, and the idea that we have to invest—if that is the right use of the word—or put subsidies into the most uneconomic form of renewable energy seems to me to be absolutely senseless. We do not have to do that; we could invest more in nuclear power or other renewables that do not have such an adverse impact on migrating birds.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

My hon. Friend is talking eloquently about the effect of wind turbines on the bird population. One thing missing from his Bill, which he may seek to correct at some point, is the impact of wind turbines on aviation, and particularly on radar. Is he aware of the aviation industry’s concerns?

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

I am aware of that, not least because Bournemouth international airport is in my constituency. One irony in relation to the developers’ proposals is that such issues have been left to bilateral discussions after the public inquiry, with people being told, “Oh, don’t worry about that. We’ll sort that out between ourselves and the airport after the inquiry.” Our hon. Friend Sir Gerald Howarth, a private pilot, is concerned about the strong vortex that wind turbines can generate and its impact on those engaged in private recreational aviation. We know that if wind turbines are more than 100 metres high, they must be illuminated so that they can be seen from aircraft, which makes them look even more unsightly on the horizon. That is an issue, as the developers accept, but instead of being dealt with in a public inquiry, it is being kicked into touch to be dealt with later, which is thoroughly unsatisfactory.

Clause 3 covers the length, location and environmental impact of the connecting cables. One would have thought that the cables from an offshore wind farm would be connected to the national grid at the closest possible point on the shore, thereby minimising the need for disruption on land. In my representation 1713 to the Navitus Bay wind park inquiry, dated 19 June 2014, I referred to such an impact, among others:

“The off shore cables should be connected to the national grid at the closest point to the sea which is Fawley Power Station. This would avoid the need for twenty two miles of connecting cables over ground across sensitive habitats.”

Members of Hurn parish council, particularly Councillor Margaret Phipps, have produced a really compelling case against laying the cables across Hurn forest, which includes an area of special scientific interest. They are concerned that there is an unnecessary additional adverse impact on the environment just from the cabling. There is no reason why the developers should not link up to the national grid at Fawley power station if they so wish. The Bill would require them to do so, rather than to create further adverse environmental impacts with cables crossing the New Forest national park, areas of special scientific interest and special areas of conservation.

Under clause 3, rather than having cables in cut-and-cover connections or left on the surface, cables would be placed in a tunnel under the ground. The main pipelines from the on-land oil development at Wytch Farm in Dorset were put underground, which minimised the impact on nature and the environment. Clause 4 is about subsidies.

The Bill is not confined to the Navitus Bay wind park development, but it would ensure that such an obscenity could not be proposed again, with all the uncertainty and opposition that such developments generate among local people. Surely we are mad as a country to invest tens of millions of pounds in subsidising a development that will have an adverse impact on one world heritage site at the same time that we are quite rightly proposing to protect another, Stonehenge, by building an enormous tunnel nearby to reduce the impact on it. We are prepared to put subsidies into saving one world heritage site, while at the same time using taxpayer subsidies to wreck another. That seems mad to me, and I am sorry if it is Government policy—I fear that it is not so much Government policy as Liberal Democrat policy.

Last week I said that the Bills I was promoting were in a sense a contribution to the development of the Conservative party manifesto. If Ministers are not free to adopt the Bill today because of the constraints of coalition with the Liberal Democrats, I hope that they will be free to do so when we have a majority Conservative Government after 7 May.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 12:50, 16 January 2015

I intended to participate in the debate on the next Bill promoted by Mr Chope, but he has so enlivened the debate on this Bill that I feel it offers me an opportunity to put on the record the fact that his view is not universally shared among Members of the House. I take the view—as, I am sure, does my hon. Friend Jonathan Reynolds—that offshore and onshore wind energy plays a valuable role in helping us meet our environmental targets in energy production. It is also key to the future of manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom.

The hon. Gentleman and I have discussed this matter on a number of occasions. He will know that my part of the world in north Wales is a significant contributor to the UK offshore wind economy. Over many years the former Labour Government, and indeed the current Government, were supportive of the development of offshore wind energy in my constituency and its adjacent areas. I recognise that the Bill is not retrospective, but it is important that we recognise the contribution made by the wind farm and energy industry in places such as north Wales in meeting our carbon commitments, and in stimulating and creating jobs and employment in an area such as mine, which was reliant on the coal industry but now has an alternative energy source that is second to none.

The hon. Gentleman’s list of supporters did not include anybody from north Wales, but Burbo Bank on the north Wales and Liverpool bay coast is a significant contributor to the industry, as is the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm and—I do not think you are related, Mr Deputy Speaker—the North Hoyle development off north Wales and Liverpool bay. All those developments are between four and eight miles off the north Wales, Wirral and Liverpool bay coast, and they would not have been approved if clause 1(1) of the Bill had been enacted. The Gwynt y Môr wind farm and other large developments would not have been permitted if clause 1(3) had been enacted, because that prevents the development of a group of wind turbines from numbering more than 100.

The Gwynt y Môr wind farm off the coast of my constituency will comprise 160 turbines although it currently has around 80. In due course it will provide enough energy to meet the needs of 400,000 homes. That project is worth £2 billion. Let me say that again: £2 billion for that one wind farm project. I think that we could and should be—and indeed are—world leaders in offshore wind, and £2 billion for that one offshore site at Gwynt y Môr is valuable investment that helps generate the energy needed for 400,000 homes. Had the Bill been enacted, that development would not have been allowed to progress. There are many examples off the coast of East Anglia, Scotland, north-west England and north Wales where there is potential for further development. If this Bill is enacted, that will not happen.

In 2007 under the Labour Government, 27 nations in Europe agreed to a legally binding target of 20% of all energy to be supplied by renewable sources by 2020. How does the hon. Gentleman think that will be done if we put a stop to offshore wind?

Importantly, I considered a moment ago the knock-on effects of this Bill. My hon. Friend Karl Turner said that Siemens has announced that it wants to build an onshore wind development of offshore blades in the great city of Hull, and that is investment in manufacturing industry. At the moment, the hon. Gentleman will know that much of the technology and hard core infrastructure is imported from Scandinavian countries and elsewhere in

Europe, but we now have a manufacturing opportunity in the city of Hull—indeed, I am surprised that Sir Greg Knight has sponsored the Bill.

In my constituency, Vestas is working out of Mostyn docks and providing support for new offshore turbines. It is manufacturing those turbines on the Isle of Wight—not un-adjacent to the area represented by the hon. Member for Christchurch. Is he saying that the manufacturing industry on the Isle of Wight should cease because of his ill-thought-out proposals for the future?

I do not wish to delay the House, but although the hon. Gentleman’s view is legitimate, it is not the sole view on this issue. There is real scope to develop offshore wind, and it contributes to our energy needs and supports manufacturing industry. It has also regenerated places such as Mostyn docks in my constituency, which would not exist in their current state were it not for the relationship between the offshore wind industry and employment onshore.

In my view the Bill should be withdrawn—let us not say rejected—and given greater thought. I hope the hon. Gentleman does that so that we can get on to the other matters that I originally intended to discuss.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 12:57, 16 January 2015

I do not intend to delay the House for long, but I want to put on record my support for this Bill. I hope that all constituents of my hon. Friend Mr Chope have seen him in action today—I am sure they regularly watch the Parliament channel—and seen how effectively he represents their interests in Parliament. His speech, as ever, was a master class, and shows how lucky the people of Christchurch are to have him batting for them on this issue and many others.

Not many constituencies in the country are more landlocked than Shipley—that is one reason why I will not detain the House for long. We are about as far from the coast as one can get, so the problems that my hon. Friend describes are not ones that people in Shipley will easily recognise unless they have a particularly powerful pair of binoculars. We can sympathise, however, because we have the problem and blot on the landscape of onshore wind farms. It seems to me that if an onshore wind farm is a blot on the landscape locally, an offshore wind farm will equally be one for people who live on the coast. The two issues are connected.

Apart from representing the interests of his constituents, my hon. Friend has also shone a rather useful light on the muddled thinking of the Labour party. Two or three years ago Labour Members made big play at their party conference of the problem of energy prices—[Interruption.] I notice the deputy Chief Whip busily taking notes on the Front Bench, and I am not sure whether I will get another black mark in his book by saying this, but I think the Leader of the Opposition hit on a good point. Many of my constituents are very concerned about the price of energy. We very much welcome the reductions we have seen in recent weeks. They would not have happened if Labour party policy had been implemented, but that is by the by. The Leader of the Opposition was absolutely right to draw attention to, and shine a light on, the problem of energy prices.

It is, however, bizarre that the party that makes a big thing about how problematic energy prices are to their constituents then decides to pursue a policy that can lead to only one outcome—even higher energy prices—by trying to cover the countryside and offshore with as many wind farms as possible. We all know that wind energy is the most inefficient and most expensive form of energy, so why on earth would a party that is so bothered about energy prices want to add as much of that energy as possible when it will only to add to prices?

Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

I am heartened to hear of the hon. Gentleman’s support for Labour’s price freeze, which I will pass on to the Leader of the Opposition. In all seriousness, does he not see the benefits of protecting his constituents from the volatility of fossil fuel prices? I am sure he is an avid follower of the work of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. It has modelled what it believes to be a lower bill scenario through a transition to a low-carbon economy and low-carbon generation.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

On a point of clarity, I did not say at all that I support Labour party policy on freezing energy prices. I just made it clear that, if we had followed that policy, we would not have had any of the reductions in energy prices that we are seeing at the moment. I am for low energy prices: I want them frozen at a lower level. The Labour party wants to freeze them at a high rate, which seems to me to be a nonsensical policy.

I do not want to get sidetracked. The fact of the matter—the hon. Gentleman could not deny it in his intervention—is that his party’s policy will lead to higher energy prices by supporting a huge expansion of wind energy. My constituency is landlocked, but it will be my constituents, just as much as those of my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch, who will be paying the price for extensive offshore wind farm developments. That is where my interest lies. I want my constituents to be able to have access to the cheapest energy. I do not want them to have access to the greenest energy, irrespective of the cost.

Mr Hanson, speaking on behalf of the north Wales economy, rather led with his chin when he mentioned how wonderful offshore wind farms are for manufacturing industry. There is a lot of manufacturing industry in my constituency. I am delighted that, under this Government, manufacturing is thriving again, unlike under the previous Government, but the one thing manufacturing is most concerned about is high energy bills. The fact is that wind energy does not help manufacturing industry. All it does is make it even more uncompetitive against businesses in China and America, which benefit from much cheaper energy bills. The extension of wind energy that the right hon. Gentleman wants to see is not helping manufacturing industry in this country; it is the death knell for manufacturing industry in this country. That is why it is so important that we stop this ridiculous expansion of wind energy.

I have a concern about my hon. Friend’s Bill. I might add that if clause 4, on subsidies, was passed it would make the rest of the Bill redundant. If subsidies were taken away from the offshore wind industry, all the measures on planning would be redundant because nobody would want to start a wind farm offshore. Clause 4 is therefore by far the most important clause, because we want to stop the subsidies to stop the higher energy bills for our constituents.

If my hon. Friend’s Bill goes through, I would not want to see an extension of onshore wind, which is just as nonsensical and has a big impact on my constituency. I am very pleased that I helped to object to the latest wind farm development in Denholme in my constituency. Clause 1(4) states:

“No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected offshore within twenty miles of any World Heritage site.”

I just wondered whether my hon. Friend thought it would be far better if it said that “No wind turbine shall be constructed or erected within 20 miles of any world heritage site anywhere.” My constituency has a world heritage site, Saltaire, which is well worth a visit for anybody who has not been. It is a marvellous tourist attraction. It was set up by Sir Titus Salt, a great industrial philanthropist. If no wind turbines were allowed within 20 miles of any world heritage site, it would neatly make sure that there could not be any wind turbines in my constituency at all. That would go down very well with me and with my constituents. What I do not really understand is why my hon. Friend thinks there should be no wind turbines within 20 miles of his constituency’s world heritage site, but that there should be within 20 miles of my constituency’s world heritage site. I hope that that is an anomaly that can be corrected at some future point. I would not want to see, as an unintended consequence of the Bill, more onshore wind farms.

I am against expensive forms of energy that add unnecessarily to the bills of my constituents. The Labour party’s vocal support for wind energy is bizarre. It is, in effect, taking money off poor householders, through their energy bills, and giving it, through huge subsidies, as the party has made clear throughout, to massive corporations and landowners. I have no idea under which part of Labour party socialist thinking that kind of redistribution of wealth was ever envisaged. I always thought that the premise of socialism was to take money from rich people and give it to poor people. The Labour party has stumbled on a policy that is all about taking money from poor people and giving it to big multinational corporations. No wonder it is leaking votes to UKIP at a record rate with that kind of muddled thinking.

I support my hon. Friend’s Bill. My constituents in Shipley, although landlocked and therefore not facing the problems of offshore wind farms, can sympathise, given their own experience of onshore wind turbines, with the issues he has brought before the House today. I will end where I started by saying I very much hope all of his constituents have seen his speech today, because they can be sure that they are incredibly well represented by him in Parliament.

Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 1:07, 16 January 2015

I am grateful to Mr Chope for bringing forward the Bill, as it gives us the opportunity to discuss what I believe are the erroneous views on offshore wind energy that it seems are held by a significant number of Conservative MPs.

As I begin my remarks, I thought it might be useful to the House to place on record the contribution that wind energy is making as the debate takes place. I have the figures with me here. As we conduct the debate, wind energy is currently providing 8.5% of the UK’s energy generation mix. In the past 24 hours, it has provided just under 13% of the UK’s new domestic generation. Because so much of onshore wind is embedded in the regional networks, a substantial part of that will come from offshore wind generation.

I recognise that the hon. Gentleman has a consistent record on this area of policy. He was one of just five Members who voted against the UK’s world-leading Climate Change Act 2008. As a result, I am not sure that we will find many areas of agreement on the specifics of the Bill, but I give credit to the hon. Gentleman in one regard: his Bill is, at least, brief. In little more than one page, he seeks to annihilate the UK’s world-leading offshore industry in its entirety—an industry with approximately 5 GW of capacity in operation or construction, with a further 3.2 GW awarded under early contracts for difference. The industry directly employs nearly 7,000 people and many more in its supply chain. It is fantastic to see in the Chamber today representatives from east Hull and from Delyn who have been able to articulate the benefits that the industry brings to their areas.

The hon. Member for Christchurch is a strong supporter of nuclear power, as am I. Labour supports the construction of new nuclear power stations at Hinkley and elsewhere. Where the hon. Gentleman and, I am afraid, too many of his Conservative colleagues get it so badly wrong is that they do not appreciate or understand the need for an energy mix. That means new nuclear, carbon capture and storage technology and, fundamentally, renewables such as onshore and offshore wind as well as solar, wave and tidal. That is what we mean by a mix. We cannot meet our carbon reduction commitments or avert catastrophic climate change unless we follow the route to such a mix.

The Bill, if brought into law, would kill the UK’s offshore wind industry. That, on the basis of the hon. Gentleman’s speech, is the Bill’s aim. As he has described, it would mandate that no offshore wind turbine could be situated within 15 miles of the shore or 20 miles for turbines exceeding 100 metres in height. For good measure, the fourth part of the Bill would strip offshore wind of any financial support, as is currently provided under the renewables obligation or contracts for difference. What does not come across from hon. Members who take this view is an appreciation that some form of subsidy is involved in nearly every form of new regeneration in the UK.

Opposition Members agree that, as with all clean energy technologies, the costs of offshore wind must continue to fall. The way to generate the clean energy we need at a price that consumers can afford is not by completely killing the offshore wind industry. It is by fostering innovation, economies of scale and crowding in investment.

Labour is committed to setting a 2030 power sector decarbonisation target—something that the industry has called for—in order to provide the long-term certainty that it needs. In that regard, the Bill is entirely contradictory. One of its clauses is, as we have heard, to limit the maximum height of wind turbines, yet the new generation of more efficient turbines coming on stream has been designed to maximise the energy yield in deeper waters. These turbines, such as the latest products from Vestas and Siemens, will certainly exceed the 100 metre height, with blades perhaps 75 to 80 metres long. These taller, more efficient turbines will help to drive down cost reduction, not to mention the benefit to the UK’s manufacturing investment. The Bill is pursuing two contradictory objectives in those two clauses.

I understand that the hon. Member for Christchurch was one of more than 100 Conservative MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister, demanding that the Government withdraw support for the UK’s onshore wind industry as well. In that regard, they were successful. The Conservatives have now proposed an effective moratorium for onshore wind, which is, of course, the cheapest large-scale form of renewable energy. Indeed, between June 2013 and September 2014, the Communities Secretary intervened in 50 onshore wind applications—projects that could have powered more than 250,000 homes.

Those Conservative Members thus appear to have been successful on that score. Clearly, the Conservative party does not like onshore wind. They also appear not to like solar power, which they have sought to suffocate through endless consultations. The Environment Secretary has managed to extract further cuts by insinuating that solar power was a threat to the security of our supply of apples! Now, almost inevitably, the Conservatives have turned their fire towards offshore wind. The Conservatives do not like onshore wind; they do not like solar; they do not like offshore wind. The question for us today, then, is whether there are any clean energy technologies that they do support.

Thankfully, the Conservatives’ irrational dislike of clean energy is not supported in public opinion. According to their very own figures, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has noted that 74% of people support offshore wind, two thirds support onshore wind and a whopping 80% support further solar development. The hostility to green energy runs counter not only to our energy security needs, but to public opinion.

One colleague who joined the hon. Member for Christchurch in the lonely No Lobby during the vote on the historic Climate Change Act 2008 was, of course, Mr Lilley, who made a final, desperate point of order just before the House divided. Although the House was passing the Climate Change Bill that evening—based, he said, on the supposition that the climate was getting warmer—he pointed out that it was snowing outside, even though it was October.

This is not a debate about climate change, and nor would I wish unfairly to associate the words of the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden with those of the Member for Christchurch, but I think we can all agree that climate is different from weather. If we cannot, there is very little point in discussing the intricacies of how far turbines should be from land or what the right strike price is for offshore wind, nuclear or anything else.

The fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided overwhelming and compelling scientific evidence that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity and that it will have disastrous consequences if urgent action is not taken to cut our carbon emissions and invest in mitigation.

I am always willing to have a debate about offshore wind, about how we can get investment up and bring costs down. However, no debate centred on a Bill that would implement a de facto ban on offshore wind could, I think, be considered a serious one. Labour is focusing on how we can best navigate the energy trilemma that all economies face. Instead of a tax on clean energy, Labour is providing—through widely supported policies such as our 2030 power sector decarbonisation target—the certainty that is needed if we are to attract investment and bring costs down. Clean energy is crucial to our energy security. Labour is focusing on helping our the clean energy industry to succeed, and ensuring that United Kingdom consumers are given a fair deal in respect of their secure, clean energy.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change 1:15, 16 January 2015

It is a great pleasure to respond on behalf of the Government. I congratulate my hon. Friend Mr Chope on what is not his first and surely will not be his last private Member’s Bill. I know that he has a long-standing interest in seeking to ensure that the United Kingdom has secure and economic energy, an aim that the Government fully support. However, having listened to the debate, I am not sure that I shall be able wholly to satisfy his demands.

The Government will oppose the Bill because of the impact that it would have on our policy of supporting appropriately sited offshore wind. Given that the vast majority of proposed offshore wind farms that could be built between now and 2020, and beyond, are either wholly or partially located within 20 miles of the coast, that impact would be wide-ranging. In particular, there would be an impact on the agreed planning process for offshore wind farm projects—as Members will know, decisions about the impact of offshore wind are a matter for the planners—and a potential impact on our legally binding 2020 renewable energy target and longer-term decarbonisation targets.

I am aware that my hon. Friend has expressed concern about a proposed offshore wind farm which, if it went ahead, would be built close to his constituency. However, a decision about that project is still some way off. The consent application is still being examined by the Planning Inspectorate, which will ultimately make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. I hope that my hon. Friend understands that it would not be appropriate for me to go into the details of that particular application, but I can say one thing to him. He said that UNESCO’s comments about the application were going to the Planning Inspectorate. That is exactly where they should be going, because the inspectorate can then take them into account in the report to the Secretary of State.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

May I press my right hon. Friend a little on the timing? The inspectorate has said that it will allow until 4 March for the receipt of further representations. Does that mean that it will not be possible for it to provide a recommendation, and for the Government to respond to that recommendation, before we enter the period of purdah, and does that, in turn, mean that this will be a live issue during the general election campaign?

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

It is normal for the inspectorate, once it has received all the documentation and representations, to take some time to consider them, and then for the Secretary of State to take some time to consider the application. Given that there are only 26 days between the date that he mentioned and the expected date of the start of purdah—the end of March—it would be a rapid turnaround if the process were completed before the start of purdah, although I cannot rule out the possibility. If I can give any firmer information after looking into the matter in detail, I will write to my hon. Friend.

The Bill is not only about that constituency case, but about the broader impact of a change in the rules governing offshore wind. The House will know that the UK is blessed with a number of advantages for offshore wind. We have relatively shallow seas, we are a very windy country, and the wind is even more pronounced offshore, and it makes sense to seek to take advantage of this resource. We are the clear world leader in offshore wind, in terms of both installed capacity and investment. We worked hard and were proud to secure the investment of Siemens near Hull, which is an issue that I worked on, as did my predecessor as Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend Michael Fallon. Many others across the Government worked hard to bring that investment to Hull, too.

Photo of Karl Turner Karl Turner Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons), Shadow Solicitor General

This Bill could cause real damage to the prospect of creating much needed jobs in my constituency. Members of Parliament in Hull and the local authority worked very hard together for a very long time, and for a Member of this House from east Yorkshire to support this Bill, which I have described as a silly Bill, is actually pretty dangerous.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

The hon. Gentleman is getting a little ahead of himself. The Government’s support for the project at Siemens is rock-solid. Indeed, my right hon. Friend Mike Penning, sitting on the Front Bench next to me now, worked on the project securing the road investment that is critical to unlocking it.

Offshore wind is producing enough energy to provide the annual electricity requirements of about 2.8 million homes. Jonathan Reynolds read out the proportion, which people can easily read off their Energy UK app on their smartphone, and it is typically between 10% and 15% of the energy requirements of the UK. Then there are the jobs that are supported in the supply chain, although we should be direct about the reasons for supporting renewable energy.

To respond to a point made from the Opposition Front Bench, we are strong supporters of solar energy, especially as it closes in on being grid-comparable. There is a big opportunity for solar, not least because 1 million people now live in homes with solar panels on the roof. One of the exciting moments for the improvement in the mix of energy in the UK will be when solar becomes grid-comparable without subsidy, and it suddenly becomes cost effective without the involvement of the Government for millions more to put solar panels on their roofs.

We always knew that the early offshore wind projects would cost more. The costs are now coming down, and we have tried to put in place a system that promotes certainty, but we are deeply mindful of the need to protect consumers, and ultimately the long-term goal is for low-carbon technologies to compete on price with other forms of generation.

I agree with much of what my hon. Friend Philip Davies says, and certainly with a lot of what he said today, such as when he pointed out the utter inconsistency of the Opposition Front-Bench position, arguing without any caveat for renewables and without concern for the fact that there is a subsidy. We have introduced a cap on that subsidy through the levy control framework, and made sure that the subsidy that is available is auctioned and provided through a market process. In that way we get the best possible bang for the buck from the subsidy, instead of just laying it on without limit.

My hon. Friend also pointed to the utter inconsistency of calling for urgent action on a price freeze and then complaining that prices are not falling fast enough, when prices for consumers would be £100 higher if the Opposition had had their way a year and a half ago when they called for an immediate energy price freeze. Their squirming and wriggling this week, trying to say that in fact their policy was only ever a cap, while launching it next to an enormous block of ice, shows just how ridiculous and absurd it was in the first place. It has now been thoroughly exposed and we will relish the opportunity over the next three and a half months to point out to anybody who cares to listen that if someone calls for an energy price freeze and when energy prices start to fall complains that they are not falling fast enough, they do not have a shred of credibility left.

Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

I do not believe that the Minister is as silly as his remarks might suggest. I think he is perfectly aware that it was always intended to be a freeze on rising prices, with the potential to deal with a fall. He has been gracious in letting me intervene on him, so may I ask him a specific question? He said that we were in favour of decarbonised electricity generation without having regard for the impact on consumers. It is the Conservative party, however, that is proposing a ban on onshore wind development, which is the cheapest form of renewable energy. If he is to stick to the legally binding commitments that this country already has, how will he square his lack of support for the onshore wind industry with his concern for consumers?

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

We argued successfully in Europe for a decarbonisation target for 2030, to ensure that we could decarbonise at the lowest possible cost. The cheapest way to decarbonise our economy is to make it more efficient. That cuts not only carbon but bills, which is what the public are looking for. They want a policy that allows us to tackle the long-term threat of the risk of climate change at the lowest possible cost while providing certainty for investors.

The hon. Gentleman has demonstrated the pickle that the Opposition are in by his use of convoluted language, which differed from that of other Opposition Front Benchers who this week tried to argue that they had always been in favour of a cap. Well, there was no mention of a cap in the motion that they put before Parliament six months ago when they called for a freeze on energy prices. That freeze has been exposed as an utter joke.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I will certainly give way, if the hon. Gentleman will come to the Dispatch Box and accept that the Opposition called for a freeze and that prices would have been higher now if we had listened to their proposal.

Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

The Minister is trying to dodge his previous statement by making points about efficiency, which he knows I agree with—hence our ambition for a much more successful energy efficiency policy than the one his Government have pursued, which has been in most aspects an outright disaster. I say to him again that he is talking about decarbonising at the lowest possible cost while simultaneously ruling out the most cost-effective form of renewable electricity generation. How does he square those two objectives?

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

The focus is on decarbonisation, and renewables are one part of decarbonisation. We also need to look at low carbon emission energy, of which nuclear is an important part—

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means), First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. Will the Minister pause for a moment? I am sure that he and the Opposition spokesman will accept that the argument that is going on between them, in which other Members are not taking part, is not completely essential to debate on the Control of Offshore Wind Turbines Bill. A general discussion on energy policy is perfectly acceptable, and I have let their argument continue this far, but I am sure that the Minister would not wish to stray much further from the subject of wind turbines.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. On exactly that subject of offshore wind turbines, which we were discussing—broadly—it is important to ensure that those turbines are part of the mix, but in a way that takes consumer costs into account. One of the reasons that we have introduced the contracts for difference is to ensure that the subsidy for offshore wind turbines gives the best possible value for money.

I have already mentioned a number of the benefits of offshore wind, but we must also take into account the wider economic benefit across the UK. The Siemens project near Hull is creating 1,000 direct jobs. The decision to locate the project there was based largely on the expected size of the UK market. Indeed, we have an industrial strategy for offshore wind because of the ability to take advantage of global offshore wind as a world leader in the supply chain. UK Trade & Investment is heavily engaged in enhancing our offshore wind capability, and leading offshore wind suppliers in Germany and Denmark have been attracted to the UK, making investments in Teesside, for instance. Many other UK businesses are also engaged.

The Bill would also have an impact on the planning process and the consideration of applications for development consent for offshore wind farms. In high-level terms, the planning system has been designed to ensure that wind farms are built only where the impacts, including visual impacts, are acceptable on the basis of a thorough consideration of the benefits and impacts of the proposed schemes. The system requires wide-ranging consultation, and it is important that judgments on the acceptability or otherwise of particular projects are made on a case-by-case basis, not on the basis of a one-size-fits-all approach. The appropriateness of the height, location, number and operation of turbines is already considered on a case-by-case basis against the criteria set out in the national policy statements, and statutory restrictions on these factors would be inconsistent with the process described in the national policy statements. The Bill would also regulate the length, location and environmental impact of cables relating to the turbines and offshore wind farms within its purview. Those aspects are also covered by the planning process, and it is our position that it would be inappropriate to set restrictions that are inconsistent with that planning process.

Therefore, the Government remain committed to offshore wind, not unconditionally at any cost, but because it is an important part of the energy mix. Our policies have been specifically designed to achieve that. The potential benefits to the nation are significant and are beginning to materialise. We believe, therefore, that the policies we have in place are working and that the Bill would risk that and should be opposed.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 1:31, 16 January 2015

With the leave of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, let me, in summing up this debate, thank everybody who has participated. Mr Hanson has given me cause to wonder whether on the next occasion I bring forward this Bill it should apply just to England. That might remove one of the big objections.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

He is shaking his head, but I thought one of his big objections was that the Bill did not take account of the special situation in north Wales.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend Philip Davies for his generous comments and for his support. As has been pointed out, he and I were two of the five people who voted on Third Reading against the Bill that became the Climate Change Act 2008. I am sure we have no regrets about having taken that decision. Indeed, a lot of our colleagues who were in the House at the time come to us every now and again to say, “I wish I had been with you in the Lobby.” The more that time passes, and the greater the subsidies and the implications for the British taxpayer and energy user, the more that people realise that that Act was a very extreme measure. It is probably totally inconsistent with our long-term economic interests. The Minister is looking at me straight in the eye, and I hope that, in due course, when we have a real Conservative Government, we will take another look at whether or not it did set an example to the rest of the world and cause them to reduce their global CO2 emissions in the way we thought it would. I think that wearing the hair shirt we have potentially done more damage to our own manufacturing industry and our own economy, and benefited those in other countries who are less principled. I continue to be concerned about that Act.

On jobs, my right hon. Friend the Minister rightly says that because of the industrial policy, Siemens has come here with its technology. It has not transferred the technology; it has come here and is making money from offshore wind turbines. Let us not forget, however, that the projected impact in just the Christchurch bay area is the loss of some 2,000-plus jobs from the tourism industry as a direct result of putting up wind turbines, which we are subsidising. So let us keep those jobs in the equation before we say that any jobs generated as a result of turbine manufacture must be a good thing. Let us keep some perspective on that. It has been said that the Bill would effectively close down the industry, but it would not do so, as the industry should be able to develop wind turbines of more than 100 metres in height in deep water beyond the 20-mile limit. That may be available in the future, so the Bill is not quite as restrictive as some claim.

I take the point that my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley made that just dealing with offshore wind turbines does not address the whole issue. Perhaps next time I will come back with a Bill that covers both onshore and offshore wind turbines.

We heard in the last debate on the control of horses that trying to get the Government to change their mind is an iterative process. Sometimes one cannot do it in one Session, and obviously I have failed so to do this time. But when the Minister comes back after the next general election, hopefully as a Secretary of State in a purely Conservative Government, I hope that he will be more sympathetic to the revised Bill that I hope to bring forward in that first Session.

In the meantime, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and Bill, by leave, withdrawn.