Number of planned new onshore wind farms has doubled since 2011

The number of turbine projects granted planning permission has more than doubled over the last two years, according to the latest figures, prompting fears that hand-outs for energy firms are too high.A growing public backlash against green energy levies on household bills, and the spread of wind turbines across the countryside, has led senior Tories to plot radical steps to protect the landscape and cut costs for customers.Conservative ministers have drawn up a four-point plan to prevent the growth of wind farms and other forms of renewable energy such as solar power plants from blighting the countryside.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, is also said to be determined to cut household gas and electricity costs by reducing the “green levy” that adds an estimated £110 to customers’ bills.But they are facing fierce resistance from Nick Clegg, whose Liberal Democrats are blocking attempts to reduce energy bills by withdrawing support for green schemes.Householders have been warned that they face sharp increases in their heating bills this winter. Last week, the energy giant, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) announced it was increasing prices for customers by 8.2 per cent.The firm’s chief executive blamed the current system of green energy subsidies, which companies add to household bills, for one third of the increase and demanded a review of the government’s environmental energy strategy.

A typical household gas and electricity bill would fall by £110 overnight if the government paid for loft insulation schemes and green energy subsidies through the tax system instead of extra charges to consumers, the firm said.Conservatives fear they are running out of time to respond to soaring household energy costs after Ed Miliband’s popular promise to freeze household gas and electricity bills.However, senior Liberal Democrats, including Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, are opposing any attempt to weaken support for renewable energy industry.

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