Home > Environment, UK Politics > DECC Youth Advisory Panel write to Chris Huhne at their disgust of the news that the Solar Feed- in -Tariff (FiT) is to be cut in half

DECC Youth Advisory Panel write to Chris Huhne at their disgust of the news that the Solar Feed- in -Tariff (FiT) is to be cut in half

Dear Rt Hon. Chris Huhne,

Re: Solar Feed In Cuts Threaten the UK’s Green Economy

We are writing as the DECC Youth Advisory Panel, the panel set up to bring a youth perspective to  the Department of Energy and Climate Change and its decision-making.

We are extremely shocked and concerned by the recent news that the Solar Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) will be cut in half in December.  We are deeply concerned this is happening without proper public consultation and the cuts are so rapid and so deep.

This is already having a direct impact on grassroots renewable energy projects. We know of one school in London under refurbishment over the next two years which was due to benefit from the Feed in Tariff generating funding to directly improve outcomes through added value programmes for students, a  project which will now be scrapped.  One of our panel members is working on the ‘Go Green Plus’ programme for small businesses in London, within which many small family-run businesses, from newsagents to pubs, were hoping to install solar panels using the FiT.  All these small businesses are now being forced to scrap their plans to install solar, even though they wanted to become more sustainable, because the incentive will be too low.  It will also perhaps fatally damage thriving localised renewable energy programs by regional and local governments.

The Feed in Tariff was introduced to boost the UK’s solar industry after years of consultation and research on its impacts in Germany.  Although the Feed-in Tariff rates are similar in the UK and Germany now, in Germany the solar FiT was stable for many years before major changes were made to its successful scheme.  Britain must follow Germany’s example and take extra care not to damage its bold, but fledgling, solar industry in these initial years.  The UK’s deep and sudden cuts threaten the UK solar industry’s future and could destroy thousands of jobs in this time of instability, threatening 2000 jobs in the South West alone.

How is the UK’s pledge to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 to be met if essential support for renewable energy is cut?  These cuts threaten prospects of green growth in the UK and contradict the UK government’s own climate change commitments.  Furthermore at a time when everyone is faced with rising energy bills, the solar FiT was one of the only ways for householders to make a smart investment and avoid crippling energy costs.  This lifeline has now been removed.

The Youth Advisory Panel would like to see better government support for community projects that help engage the public with renewable energy and increase installed capacity.  With this in mind we support the proposal that a separate FiT definition be given to community energy projects, with a view to offering them a higher FiT rate in the future.

As young people we are deeply concerned about the growing threat of climate change and energy security on our future.  We are therefore deeply shocked that the UK government is going back on its own green promises by implementing these sudden cuts.  We urge the government to urgently re-think the proposal.

Yours Sincerely,
DECC Youth Advisory Panel

Signed By:  Helena Wright (Young Friends of the Earth), Elizabeth Anderson (Chair of the DECC Youth Advisory Panel),  Tom Youngman (DECC YAP),  Edward Byers, Ella Sivan, George Harper, Heather Kitt,  Jade Mitchell, Joshua Snape, Mairi McInnes,  Reuben Chesters,  Sasha Pratt,  Stephen Marshall (DECC YAP),  Tom Mower (People & Planet, Groundwork Leeds), Rose Wilson, Unkha Banda,  Zain Awan

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