A letter to the Prime Minister, penned by the Cut Don’t Kill campaign and Friends of the Earth, has urged David Cameron to reconsider the scale and depth of reform facing the FiT payments, branding the current proposals as “wrong”.
The letter is supported by 55 individuals and groups, including: The Town and Country Planning Association, The Federation of Small Businesses and Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Council leaders.
The letter states that, “The cuts planned threaten to strangle at birth a new industry that is providing thousands of new jobs, and bringing down the cost of clean zero-carbon energy.”
The coalition of 55 individuals and groups have urged Cameron to extend the proposed deadline, top-up the FiT budget in the autumnal budget review and establish a new system to drive down FiT rates on the evidence of reducing costs.
The letter is the latest in a long list of calls for the Government to reconsider the imminent cutting of the FiT, designed to support solar PV technology.
The full letter can be read below:
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing to ask you to urgently rethink the Government’s proposed changes to solar energy policies. The cuts planned threaten to strangle at birth a new industry that is providing thousands of new jobs, and bringing down the cost of clean, zero-carbon energy.
We recognise that both of the parties in the coalition have long championed the many benefits of householders and local communities generating renewable energy. The coalition parties played a big role in establishing the feed-in tariff in the last parliament. This has been an enormous success, with over 100,000 installations since 2010 creating 25,000 jobs in the solar industry.
We also recognise that the costs of installing solar have fallen since the scheme began, and that tariff rates can and should be reduced. However, cuts of 50-70% for solar in less than two years are so much deeper that the reductions in cost, that they place the future of the industry at very real risk. They are also being implemented so fast that companies are already seeing existing orders cancelled and future work dry up overnight.
We therefore call on you to
- Extend the deadline for schemes so that there is time to complete projects which people have planned and invested in on the basis of existing support rates.
- Top-up the feed-in tariff budget in the forthcoming autumn budget statement. We recognise that money is tight, but recent budgets have found money to delay fuel duty increases and fund Minister’s concerns over bi-weekly bin collections.
- Establish a new system to drive down feed-in tariff rates, but in a planned way that relies on evidence of reducing costs, not a series of stop-start lurches that are devastating to those trying to build businesses and create jobs in the industry.
There is still time for you to amend the Government’s proposals and minimise the disruption and loss of jobs in the solar industry. Done right, we can ensure the sector keeps growing – albeit more modestly- and so bring down the cost of installing renewable power.
But done wrong – and the current proposals are wrong – we could see many people who have invested in or trained to work in a new, low-carbon industry out of work before Christmas. This could only knock confidence in the UK’s determination to build a low carbon economy and hugely undermine your determination to lead the “greenest Government ever”.