The London Assembly has accused Amber Rudd of snubbing London’s solar industry after the energy secretary said she was too busy to meet with them to discuss changes to the feed-in tariff.
Assembly chair Jennette Arnold requested a meeting with the secretary of state in November following months of lobbying Mayor of London Boris Johnson to fight the solar industry’s corner in government.
The Assembly eventually gave Johnson a deadline, and it was later claimed that the mayor had addressed Rudd in a bid to arrange a meeting. Arnold then wrote to Rudd herself later that month to formally request a meeting to discuss the impact of the FiT changes and the viability of London’s solar industry.
However a reply sent by Rudd last week – apologising for the delay – stated that she could not find the time to meet. “Unfortunately, my diary commitments prevent me from being able to accept your request for a meeting on this occasion,” Rudd’s letter states.
Murad Qureshi, Labour London Assembly environment spokesperson, said that Rudd’s refusl to meet represented a “huge snub” to nearly 3,000 solar energy workers based in London.
“The government risks looking determined to kill off renewables in the capital.
“Solar energy has a hugely important role to play in London’s future. This is about ensuring our capital’s environment is clean and fit for our children and grandchildren to live in. We should be going all out to be the solar capital of Europe.
“Government cuts to the feed-in tariff threaten to undermine any progress we’ve made to making London a global centre for new renewable energy generation. It is incredibly important that the government understand the full impact their cuts to feed-in tariffs are having on this fledgling industry. As it stands they appear hell bent on sucking the sunshine out of domestic and community energy schemes,” he added.
London has become notorious for its comparatively poor adoption of solar but the capital still has demonstrable appetite for the technology. Various members of the Assembly, including the Green Party’s Jenny Jones and Liberal Democrat Stephen Knight, have campaigned for solar to be better supported by legislation in the capital.
A ‘London FiT’ – which would involve London boroughs topping up the national feed-in tariff for a more favourable rate – has been mooted in the past, however it is understood there are no current plans to progress it.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.