Farmers urged to join fight on renewable energy support cuts

Farmers and landowners are being urged to take part in a cross-industry campaign fighting government plans to slash support for small-scale renewable energy generation

A coalition made up of a diverse range of organisations including the Solar Trade Association,

NFU, DuPont and Ikea, issued a joint statement to the secretary of state on Thursday (17 September) calling on government to “urgently reconsider” its proposals.

See also: Farm renewables rates cut solar support by 87% and wind 58%

The letter, timed to coincide with energy secretary Amber Rudd appearing in parliament to face questioning about the proposals and their impact, accepted subsidies could not go on indefinitely, but said it was essential any policy changes protected investor confidence and ensured a stable transition to grid parity.

More than 18,600 people have also signed a parliamentary petition for Decc to review its approach to the solar Feed-in Tariffs (Fits), although this is still some way off the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a debate in parliament.

A “steady stream” of farmers had already contacted the NFU to express concerns at the government plans and chief adviser for renewable energy and climate change Jonathan Scurlock urged others to make their views heard before the Fits consultation ends on 23 October.

Alongside dismay at the harsh cuts to support proposed by Decc, its recent decision to end pre-accreditation for Fits from next month was another major concern expressed, particularly among those with projects at an advanced stage and unsure whether they could pre-accredit before the 1 October cut-off, he said.

There were also fears about how the cuts would hit farm businesses that had diversified into the renewable energy supply chain, such as those offering consultancy services or equipment distribution or installation.

“We’re strongly encouraging farmers and growers to respond to Decc’s consultation [on Fits cuts],” said Dr Scurlock.

Comments can be sent to the NFU to help shape its official consultation response, or farmers can respond directly to Decc, or send a personalised letter to their local MP.

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