The Tory chairman, Grant Shapps, has given the first public signal that the Conservatives will seek a moratorium of onshore windfarms and will draw a dividing line with the Lib Dems, who he says love them.
The senior minister appeared to confirm Guardian reports that the Tories will pledge at the next election to cap the output of onshore wind farms from 2020.
Asked by the Western Morning News whether plans to curb wind farms would feature in his party’s manifesto, Shapps said: “The wind is moving in a clear direction here.”
He claimed that while onshore wind turbines blight the countryside and upset everybody, the Lib Dems love them.
In what appears to be an attempt to differentiate the coalition partners, he claimed Lib Dems covet wind farms “all over the south-west if they can pull it off”.
The south-west is home to a large number of onshore windfarms and marginal Tory-Lib Dem seats. Countryside opponents of the technology complain that it spoils the landscape and depresses house prices. But green groups and the renewables industry have accused the Tories of pandering to the right and rowing back on the green agenda.
It comes after a senior source close to the prime minister told the Guardian last week that Cameron is supportive of opponents of onshore windfarms and wants to go further in cutting their aid.
A move by Cameron and George Osborne to push for a cap on the electricity output of onshore windfarms, which would in effect amount to a cap, was rejected by Nick Clegg.