Winds of change

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AS Prime Minister, David Cameron is one of the most photographed men in Britain. Yet one of the most iconic images comes from the early months of his Tory leadership, hugging a husky on a visit to the Scott-Turner glacier in Norway.

Even though he had hired a private jet to see evidence of global warming, Mr Cameron wanted to embrace the environment as a campaigning issue and show to voters that the Conservative Party would be radically different under his leadership.

How ironic, therefore, that Mr Cameron’s green credentials, and past commitments in favour of renewable energy, are being severely tested by his backbenchers who are stepping up their vociferous campaign against wind turbines.

It is a cause that certainly resonates with MPs in this region who contend that the technology is unreliable, and that on-shore wind farms are undermining the aesthetic appeal of beauty spots which are pivotal to sustaining Yorkshire’s rural economy.

That said, there is still a need to broaden the country’s energy base, despite the legal wrangle surrounding solar power, and that there is no reason to discourage those off-shore wind farms that are planned for the North Sea.

As well as making a fundamental difference to the economy, particularly along the Humber, their advent should lessen the demand for on-shore wind turbines and demonstrate that new sources of power do have a place in Britain’s future energy policy alongside clean-coal technology.

In the meantime, Mr Cameron should demonstrate his pragmatic environmentalism by putting on hold future subsidies for on-shore wind power until its effectiveness has been proven. Far from being irresponsible, it would be the mark of a responsible leader.