Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome David Warburton has become the latest Tory politician to criticise his own party’s stance on renewables, slamming proposals to cut the feed-in tariff as “draconian”.
Warburton was speaking after a number of community energy projects had been developed in his constituency, and he said the plans would be a “disaster” for similar projects currently in the pipeline.
“We know the solar industry fully expected some rationalisation, but a drop of up to 87% in subsidies overnight is draconian and more than I suspect the industry can bear. This would be a disaster for community energy projects like these in Frome, which are putting power – literally – in the hands of local people.
“So I'm battling ministers at the Department for Energy and Climate Change for a set of tariffs and a mechanism that keeps the solar industry alive until grid parity is reached – which is anticipated to be within this parliament – allows domestic installations to continue, at a steady or reduced rate, and encourages commercial and community rooftop installations, especially where the power will be used on site,” Warburton said.
His comments add to similar sentiments made by Conservative MP and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who last month questioned the proposals and said he would be working with his team to determine the true extent of their impact on London’s renewable energy targets.
Political opposition to the proposals has been strong since they were announced in late August. Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy labelled the government’s current energy policy a “national scandal” during the Labour Party Conference last week and a number of other MPs have publicly questioned the motives behind the cuts.
On Tuesday Amber Rudd defended the cuts during her address to the Conservative Party Conference, claiming accusations of the cuts to be ideological “could not be further from the truth”.