Minister Nick Boles loses wind farm role because his brother works for turbine …

August 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The disclosure did not come to light in the Government register of ministers’
interests because this has not been updated for more than 18 months, despite
a Coalition commitment to publish a new version twice a year.

Friends of Mr Boles stressed that while he was in control of wind farm
planning between September and April, the minister had been a repeated
critic of onshore wind farms being sited too near to communities.

In January, The Telegraph disclosed how Mr Boles and John Hayes, at the time
an energy minister, were building an “informal alliance” against more
onshore wind developments. Both have now lost control over the policy area,
after Mr Hayes, a strident opponent of onshore wind, was moved to become an
adviser to the Prime Minister. A friend of Mr Boles said: “Until then [when
Mr Boles was removed in April] he had been pushing hard for much tighter
planning guidance that would give communities much greater ability to refuse
onshore wind applications.”

The friend said the change should have been clear when Mr Prisk answered a
question on wind farms in the Commons on Thursday of last week.

A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said:
“Responsibility for planning policy and casework in relation to wind farms
transferred from Nick Boles in April 2013 to avoid the perception of any
potential conflict of interest.

“This was in the light of his brother’s employment with Siemens and his
planned return to the UK from Germany. Siemens is involved in the
construction of wind turbines but does not operate onshore or offshore wind
farms. The permanent secretary reviewed and approved the arrangements. For
the avoidance of doubt, Nick Boles played no role in the planning practice
guidance on wind farms announced to Parliament in June 2013 and published
this week.”

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