ALEX Salmond has lambasted the "chaos and confusion" of the UK Govern- ment's policy on renew-ables, which risks damaging investor confidence in a major industry.

On Tuesday, the First Minister hiked the target for renewable energy to the equivalent of 50% of Scotland's electricity demand by 2015, just as a Conservative minister at Westminster appeared to signal retreat on the issue.

LibDem Energy Secretary Ed Davey slapped John Hayes down for saying there should be a moratorium on any more land-based wind farms.

Mr Salmond said: "Although people can be certain of the policy direction of Scotland, and that's going to secure investment, there's total chaos and confusion now in terms of the policy in London and that needs to be sorted out as quickly as possible."

Mr Hayes said: "We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land."

Even his own department said Mr Hayes had "totally over-egged" his comments, which put David Cameron on the back foot at Prime Minister's Questions where he was forced to deny there had been any change in policy on wind energy.

Mr Davey insisted: "The Government is still committed to renewables including onshore wind."

Holyrood Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "When the industry is investing billions into our economy and employs 11,000 people, it deserves our support."

Mr Salmond's new targets were condemned as "delusional" by the Scientific Alliance, a group which disputes climate change and which praised Mr Hayes.