Climate tsar Sharma delivers blow to Sunak by joining onshore wind rebellion

Rishi Sunak is facing a growing rebellion over onshore wind after former Cabinet minister Alok Sharma joined Boris Johnson and Liz Truss in opposing the ban.

Mr Sharma, who was the president of the Cop26 climate summit, backed an amendment to Government legislation in an attempt to lift the moratorium on new onshore windfarms.

His support takes former levelling-up secretary Simon Clarke’s amendment to the Levelling Up Bill to having the public backing of 22 Tory MPs.

Mr Sharma said he supports letting “local communities decide”, backing residents being given reduced energy bills in exchange for their support of new developments.

“Onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of renewable power and will help to bolster the UK’s energy security,” he Tweeted.

“Putin’s illegal and brutal war in Ukraine has reinforced that climate & environmental security are totally interlinked with energy and national security

“Faster deployment of renewables, inc onshore wind, is needed to deliver on the UK’s 2035, 100% clean electricity target.”

The Prime Minister is facing a major challenge over planning policy from within the Conservative Party on multiple fronts.

He was forced to pull a vote on the legislation that would set a target of building 300,000 homes per year when around 50 Tory MPs threatened to rebel.

Mr Johnson did not seek to overturn the effective moratorium on new onshore wind projects, in place since 2015, during his time as prime minister.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backs lifting the ban, arguing that Mr Sunak’s refusal to do so as a “national act of self-harm, choking off our economic potential”.