More than 100 Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister demanding cuts to the subsidies for on-shore wind farms.

In the letter, the Tory MPs blast the level of taxpayer-funded subsidies afforded to “inefficient and intermittent” on-shore wind turbines during the current financially straightened times.

The letter continues to criticise the new National Planning Framework which “diminishes the chances of local people defeating unwanted on-shore wind farm proposals.” The MPs are concerned that recent planning appeals have approved wind farm developments despite local objections, as inspectors cite renewable energy targets as more important than planning considerations.

Currently the UK generates around 7TWh of its electricity from on-shore wind. Government believes that this technology could contribute up to around 13GW by 2020. However, in order to achieve that level of capacity, the on-shore wind industry must grow by 13 percent per annum.

The Conservative MPs recommend that amendments to the planning laws should be introduced, which would mean that: “When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should apply the presumption in favour of sustainable development”. The MPs go on to state their support for local small-scale systems as a preferable alternative to large-scale wind farms, stating: “Even small-scale projects provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emission.”

Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association, hit back at the criticisms levelled at wind stating: “Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective renewables in the UK. If we cut back on our aspirations for it, the overall costs of renewables will increase because we will have to draw on more expensive technologies instead. We need to develop a diverse portfolio of wind projects; from the larger wind farms in those landscapes which can accommodate them, to smaller arrays of large turbines in industrial locations – and ideally community-owned and initiated ventures too.          

The cost of wind energy is recovered from all electricity consumers; so ideally, communities with suitable sites should be proactively seeking developments to reap the economic benefits of wind power at the local scale.

Hartnell concluded: “If achieving planning permission becomes ever harder, we will pay a greater premium for our renewables.”

Chris Heaton-Harris, Tory MP for Daventry, who organised the letter, said that more MPs would have signed it had they been allowed to. Two Liberal Democrats and two Labour members also supported the letter.

The group is keen to stress that it is not ‘anti-renewable’, yet it opposes the level of support on-shore wind receives from Government. As a result, the letter calls for the redistribution of the £400 million funding that on-shore wind currently receives. “We ask Government to dramatically cut the subsidy for on-shore wind and spread the savings made between other types of reliable renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures,” the group explains.

The Conservative backbenchers’ calls for reform, mark newly-appointed Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey’s first major challenge in cabinet after he reiterated his desire to follow, what he believes, are ambitious Coalition plans to grow the green economy.