Hayes lands top job in the cabinet reshuffle

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SOUTH Holland MP John Hayes has landed a top job as energy and climate change minister in the Cabinet reshuffle, despite his past vociferous opposition to wind farms.

Mr Hayes, speaking from his new office in London yesterday, said he was “very excited” about his move from his previous position as skills minister.

He said: “It’s a big job and very important for the long-term future of the country. The decisions on energy and climate change will affect my grandchildren and every individual in South Holland and Great Britain. It’s about whether the lights go on or not.”

In July, Mr Hayes wrote to South Holland District Council expressing his “profound concerns” about the proposed Delph wind farm in West Pinchbeck.

In 2009, he went on record as saying: “Wind turbines are a terrible intrusion in our flat Fenland landscape.

“Renewable energy needs to pass the twin tests of environmental and economic sustainability and wind power fails on both counts.”

Commenting on where he stood on renewables now he said: “It is true I have been outspoken on wind farms and I recently saw off an unsuitable application at Pinchbeck.

“What I have said in the past is on record, but I can’t prejudice policy before it has happened. In my new role I will be researching all aspects of energy conservation and renewables – it’s a very important job.”

Looking at the tasks ahead, he said: “The Prime Minister has been very complimentary about my work in the past – energy and climate change will be a challenge for the Government and for me.

“But my first priority remains to my constituents.”

Mr Hayes has been skills minister since May 2010. He was first elected to Parliament as the member for South Holland and The Deepings in 1997 and has been re-elected – with increased majorities – at each of the three subsequent general elections.

He replaces Charles Hendry as energy and climate change minister. Vince Cable takes over as skills minister.

David Smith, CEO of Energy Networks Association, commented: “We look forward to working with Mr Hayes going forward and hope to have as positive and constructive a relationship as we had with his predecessor. The networks are enablers of an affordable, sustainable, secure and low carbon energy future, which we look forward to discussing with Mr Hayes.”

Also tipped for a top job in the Autumn reshuffle is Bourne and Stamford MP Nick Boles in the role of Planning Minister, to replace Greg Clark MP who has been promoted to the Treasury.