The London Assembly has kept the pressure on energy secretary Amber Rudd by passing a motion calling on mayor Boris Johnson to stand up for the capital’s renewables industry.
The motion, passed on Wednesday and agreed by a majority of assembly members, argues the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s decision to proceed with cuts to the small-scale feed-in tariff to be “short-sighted” and one that will “seriously hamper efforts to make London a global leader on solar power”.
While the controversial proposals were up for consultation the London Assembly requested that the mayor lobby the energy secretary on solar’s behalf, eventually issuing him with an ultimatum after a perceived lack of progress.
Johnson eventually claimed to have met with Amber Rudd, however the secretary of state then stressed that she was too busy to meet personally with the London Assembly.
“The secretary of state’s decision to shun London’s democratic institutions by refusing to meet a cross-party delegation of members and entrepreneurs sends the strongest message possible that the future sustainability of London’s energy supply and its renewables industry are a matter of worryingly low priority to the government.
“Although the government has now made its decision, this assembly asks that the mayor consider this request again, so to impress on the secretary of state the likely impact of these changes,” the motion’s text states.
The motion was proposed by Labour assembly member Murad Qureshi, who complained that the solar industry was “falling behind” in the capital.
“Not only has the mayor refused to even consider the idea of a London feed-in tariff to boost the solar industry, he now appears to be trying to block London Assembly members from sharing their views by excluding them from his meeting with the energy secretary,” Qureshi said.
Liberal Democrat assembly member Stephen Knight added: “London has the potential to become a global leader in the use of solar power, but currently has the lowest amount of installed power capacity of any region in the UK.
“Turning this situation around is vital to reducing the capital’s dependency on fossil fuels and supporting London’s renewable energy companies.
“It is time that the government was asked once again to rethink its damaging decision to cut the solar feed-in tariff, which will undermine the move towards the wider adoption of solar power in London.”
The motion was agreed by 13 votes to nine.