Election 2015 England

UKIP leader Nigel Farage questions renewable industry

Nigel Farage
Image caption Nigel Farage was campaigning for UKIP in the party's target seat of Great Grimsby

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has questioned the financial viability of the renewable energy industry during a campaign visit to Grimsby.

Mr Farage said he was not against renewable energy, "but it cannot go on if it is purely based on taxpayer subsidy".

The Humber Estuary is benefiting from multi-million pound investments in offshore wind turbine factories.

One industry spokesman described Mr Farage's comments as "overly simple".

Mr Farage was speaking to BBC Radio Humberside during a visit to the Great Grimsby constituency, which is a target seat for his party.

He claimed that by 2020 people would be paying a "20% surcharge on their electricity bill just to subsidise the renewable industry."

He added: "So I have to say, I think in 10 years' time there won't be a renewable industry, we will have rethought the whole thing."

'Billions of pounds'

Sam Pick, director at Renewables Network which represents local green energy firms, said Mr Farage's comments failed to account for financial support such as tax breaks to other energy producers.

Mr Pick said he could understand the concerns for bill payers but claimed his comments risked investment in the region.

"We have literally billions of pounds coming into the Humber Estuary on the back of renewable energy," said Mr Pick.

"It's vital these investments continue as this is our future industry."

A £400m marine energy park is planned for a site in Immingham near Grimsby. Its developers claim it will create more than 4,000 jobs when it opens in 2018.

On the north bank of the Humber, work has started on a £310m wind turbine production and installation facility in Hull, which is expected to bring 1,000 new jobs.

'Initial support'

Steve Norton, deputy chairman of the Grimsby Conservative Party, said that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats had a similar policies to his party on renewable energy and that the Conservatives hoped to reduce the level of subsidy in the future.

"Any new industry needs initial support," said Mr Norton.

"Longevity is there, Grimsby is at a watershed in terms of investment.

"Offshore will do to Grimsby what oil did to Aberdeen."

The candidates for the Great Grimsby constituency are:

Victoria Ayling, UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Steve Beasant, Liberal Democrats

Vicky Dunn, Green Party

Marc Jones, Conservative Party

Valerie O'Flynn, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Melanie Onn, Labour Party

Source: yournextmp.com

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