Cuadrilla’s Tame Gorilla Is Moved To A Different Cage

We were delighted to learn that Energy Minister John Hayes has finally been moved to a position where he can do a bit less damage. Hayes has been an outspoken critic of renewables and has supported shale gas in the past using some decidedly dodgy tactics for a government minister. Notably last December he made himself look very foolish by stating in an interview on Radio 5 Live reported in the Daily Telegraph that,

the idea that that water will get into the main water table has been categorically denied. The claim that the water used in fracking gets into the aquifer was categorically refuted by the Durham University study earlier this year

As the Telegraph went on to explain though this didn’t please the study’s author who had of course said no such thing.

However, Prof Richard Davies, who led the study, said the water table can be contaminated if the drilling is too close to the water table. “We have not proved it could not happen, what we have shown is the safety distance,” he said.

As the Guardian reports today Hayes’ brash, belligerent style and his disregard for the facts created great tension within the department

Relations between Davey and Hayes deteriorated so badly at one point that Davey disclosed to the Guardian that he asked the prime minister to remove responsibility for green energy from Hayes.

He wrote to Cameron warning him that if Hayes continued in the role they would be open to legal challenge over any decision he made on the subject, since his views were so prejudiced.

Davey sought legal advice from his department, which confirmed that Hayes’s presence increased the danger of the department’s decisions on renewable energy being exposed to judicial review.

Davey’s private secretary sent the formal warning to the prime minister’s.

Davey told the Guardian he feared even an unsuccessful legal challenge could be disruptive at a time when the government was trying to create certainty for energy investors. Davey had wanted to remove Hayes from all responsibility for renewables.

The prime minister rejected the warning and refused to remove Hayes from his post.

It seems that Cameron has finally had enough.

Let’s hope that his replacement Michael Fallon shows a bit more intelligence and displays a better grasp of the issues here.

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