Down councillors have reviewed the Finance Ministers proposals aimed at encouraging in energy efficiency and dismissed them as woeful, wholly inadequate and a fig-leaf for his failures this year in the energy arena.
Councillor Cadogan Enright pointed out that “Minister Dodds has personally stopped the “Reconnect” grant scheme for families struggling with high heating bills to install cheap renewable energy in older houses, and his department had also reversed proposals to include renewable energy in new houses to save money for hard-pressed house buyers.”
Councillor Enright said ”These proposals are a pretence at doing something when he and his department have organised the destruction of the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland this year, and hundreds of newly trained people are having to go South for work in this sector.”
Several councillors dismissed Minister Dodds proposal of a once-off rates rebate of £150 to people who insulated their roofs or walls as completely inadequate and no substitute for the damage done this year by minister Dodds and his department.
Sinn Fein Councillor Eamonn Mac Conn Midhe said that “As a builder I have crawled into hundreds of roof-spaces in County Down, and almost none are uninsulated these days. These proposals are a joke; the Assembly needs to bring back the renewable energy grants and implement renewable energy as a normal part of building regulations as in the South. The building industry needs the work and consumers need cheaper energy.”
Councillor Enright proposed that the council should write to the minister rejecting his proposals and express the councils wish that the reconnect grant be re-established, that the original building regulations be implemented by the department of Finance and that the Assembly play its role in combating Global Warming and high energy bills. This proposal was seconded by Cllr Eamonn Mac Conn Midhe who added that low-energy light fittings be included also.
The councillors strongly supported that idea that any building that had been made “zero-carbon” should be given a 5-year “rates holiday” and it was decided to include this request in the proposal from Cllr Enright and Mac Conn Midhe to the department of Finance.
John Dumigan was requested to draft a strong response that could be reviewed before sending to Minister Dodds at the department of finance.
The Wood Pellet Boiler was installed at Cllr Enrights house by Kilkeel based business Rozell Renewables – www.rozellrenewables.com