MLA Candidate Cadogan Enright has angrily hit out at the Northern Ireland Assembly’s failure to copy UK government’s standard fuel incentives for hard-pressed home and business owners to switch to cheaper local renewable energy systems
Cllr Cadogan Enright said: “From June this year, the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme will be operating across Britain, but not in Northern Ireland.
“Sammy Wilson and Arlene Foster and the DUP have yet again let down the people of Northern Ireland by failing to promote renewable energy”.
“This scheme would typically pay a UK householder £2,250 per annum for 15 years to switch a 25kw boiler over to locally sourced, cheaper renewable energy like wood pellets.
“Businesses would benefit too. Even the Tory government realizes that the UK cannot afford to fall behind in its commitments to reduce the countries international commitments for carbon reductions. These schemes have been operating in mainland Europe for over ten years and have proved hugely successful.
“In 2010, the DUP’s Arlene Foster also refused to copy UK’s the feed-in tariff for electricity, thereby depriving home and business owners of badly needed revenue and cost reductions.
“In 2009 Sammy Wilson abolished grants for Northern Ireland householders, businesses and community groups wanting to convert older buildings to renewable energy, whereas regions like Scotland and Wales continued to have schemes to covert buildings to locally-produced energy.
“In 2008 Peter Robinson refused to copy the UK’s Sustainable Building Code following lobbying by the local developers. Uniquely in the UK, new houses in Northern Ireland are being built with lower levels on insulation and no solar panels as standard, leaving Northern Ireland house purchasers financially worse-off than their UK counterparts”
“As a result of these decisions, Northern Ireland will be the region in the UK that will be most hard-hit by the CRC carbon stealth tax being introduced by the Lib-Con coalition in April 2012.
“We will have all the costs loaded on us, but be unable to claim any of the benefits in switching to cheaper local energy sources.”
“The DUP and the Executive in general is leaving Northern Ireland as the only place in the UK and across Europe not systematically encouraging local people to switch to cheaper more sustainable energy that can be produced in our local economy.
“They prefer to continue the unaffordable import of £2 billion pounds per annum of fossil fuels from unstable and unsustainable sources in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“It is Northern Ireland home owners and businesses that are bearing the brunt of these costs when there are cheaper alternatives available elsewhere in the UK which our Assembly is refusing to introduce locally.
“While the rest of the UK are moving forward and implementing this scheme in a few months, our ministers continue to ‘review’ the Northern Ireland situation and dither while costing homes and businesses money they can little afford in these strained economic times,” concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright.