The London Assembly has given Mayor of London Boris Johnson a deadline of today in which to press energy secretary Amber Rudd for a meeting over proposed cuts to the feed-in tariff.
Last month the Assembly issued a report proposing several ways in which the capital could stimulate its lacklustre solar deployment and called on the Mayor to lobby government on behalf of the solar industry and provide “political leadership” on the matter.
But on Wednesday it looked to expedite this request and agreed a motion committing the Assembly to organise a meeting themselves if Johnson had failed to by close of play today. The motion was passed with 13 votes for and seven against.
The text of the motion referenced Johnson’s previous comments that it would be “wrong” to cut the feed-in tariff if the proposals stopped people from investing in solar and said the Assembly “regrets” his apparent refusal to lead a cross-party delegation to meet with Rudd to discuss the subject.
“Should the Mayor continue to refuse to lead such a delegation by the end of the week (Friday 6th November 2015), this Assembly calls on the Chair of the London Assembly, in consultation with Party Group Leads and the Environment Committee, to write to the Secretary of State requesting a meeting on behalf of Assembly Members and London-based solar companies,” the motion stated.
Assembly member Stephen Knight proposed the motion and said that cuts to the feed-in tariff were “the last thing we need” if more of London is to adopt solar.
“The Mayor should be joining with Assembly Members from every political party to send out the clear message to the Department for Energy and Climate Change that this policy is not only madness for both London’s environment but will also destroy many jobs in the solar industry,” Knight added.
And his sentiments were echoed by fellow assembly member Murad Qureshi, who said it was “deeply disappointing” that Johnson had until now refused to lead lobbying efforts.
“Surely it’s time the Mayor stood up for London and used his influence to put a stop to a raft of policies that threaten the whole future of solar power in London,” Qureshi said.
While Johnson has seemingly failed to lobby government as requested until now, he did lead a response to the FiT consultation in which he criticised “sharp cliff-edge” reductions in favour of a more “gradual tapering” of the tariff.