Climate activists planted one thousand pinwheels in Parliament Square at dawn to highlight public support for wind power in the lead up to this week’s Autumn Statement.
Campaigners from climate change charity 10:10 then took bouquets of pinwheels to the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – along with a petition signed by 18,000 people who support the clean energy source.
The petition urges the government to ensure onshore wind power is able to compete with other forms of electricity generation, and to look again at whether subsidies for fossil fuel power stations are a wise move.
World Meteorological Organisation figures show 2016 will probably be the hottest year on record, and the campaigners want government funds to be urgently redirected towards support for the development of energy that does not hasten climate change.
In 2015 the government announced the end of financial support mechanisms for new onshore wind power, despite previous pledges to ensure a transition to the lowest cost transition to a low carbon economy.
Campaigners also say too much public money is going to power generators that use coal and diesel, and they point to economic trends and survey data that they say show wind power is increasingly becoming a popular new energy source that offers exceptional value for money.
Cecily Spelling, a 10:10 wind campaigner, said: “Onshore wind is great. It’s cheap and can help control bills. It’s climate friendly. It’s popular. It’s a plentiful resource here in the UK. And yet current government policy is hanging it out to dry.
“They claim they want the cheapest decarbonisation of the UK economy, yet lock out the cheapest forms of low carbon energy – onshore wind and commercial scale solar.
“It looks like we’ll be giving more than a billion pounds more public money to dirty fossil fuel power stations this winter, whilst failing to invest adequately in clean energy or support innovation in electricity storage and ‘smart grid’ technologies.
“It’s a dangerous use of public money and risks tying us to dirty fossil fuels for way longer than we need.”