Keeping the heat on Government brings green energy success
Campaigning by Friends of the Earth and a coalition of business, energy and green groups has saved an important scheme to encourage renewable energy from Government spending cuts.
In the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) the Chancellor gave the go-ahead to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
The RHI will help people and councils heat their properties and water using energy from clean, green sources.
From 2011 it will make it easier for households, farmers and institutions like schools to slash their fuel bills by installing heat pumps, solar hot water and bio-gas systems.
And the benefits go much further – cutting carbon emissions and helping the UK wean itself off a precarious reliance on imported gas and oil.
Strength in numbers
To protect the RHI, Friends of the Earth formed an alliance with 16 other organisations, including:
- businesses like the Co-operative Bank and Worcester Bosch
- rural groups like the National Farmers Union and Country Land and Business Association
- trades unions including the TUC and PCS
- green energy groups like the Renewable Energy Association.
We got the message to ministers with many thousands of campaign postcards through their letter boxes.
And an eye-catching stunt outside Parliament - featuring a solar-powered hot-air balloon - was supported by 47 MPs from all parties.
The Government didn’t know which way to turn without bumping into someone telling them they would be insane to dump the renewable tariffs.
But right up until George Osborne’s speech it seemed likely the RHI would be scrapped.
To save this crucial scheme was a huge achievement in the context of deep cuts across the board.
Thanks to everyone who worked together to make this happen - including the many Friends of the Earth supporters who gave so generously to our urgent appeal relating to this work.