Campaign success as Treasury backs down in battle over green electricity

Campaigning by Friends of the Earth and renewable energy groups has helped save a crucial measure to encourage green electricity from the Chancellor’s axe.

The Government had promised the feed-in tariffs (FITs) payment to councils, communities and homeowners who generate electricity from renewable sources was fixed until 2013.

Broken promise

But reports before the spending review suggested the tariff would be prematurely slashed by a third.

This was despite the fact it is not financed by the public purse.

Cutting FITs would have undermined both the UK’s developing green energy industry and the Government’s green ambitions, we warned.

It would be incredibly short-sighted for the Treasury to backpedal on this commitment. Damaging investor confidence would ultimately make it more expensive to meet our renewable energy targets.

Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director

Keeping up the pressure

Our campaigners kept the heat on Government to maintain FITs through meeting Ministers and lobbying at Party conferences.

And two days before the spending review Friends of the Earth warned the Government could face a hefty legal bill if it reneged on its commitment.

Influential Financial Times journalist Jim Pickard blogged about the threat of a legal challenge, prompting a flurry of activity in Whitehall.

Backroom battles

Energy and Climate Change Ministers keen to keep the tariff intact were under intense pressure from the Treasury to reduce it to cut costs.

Ministers have said the possibility of expensive legal action helped them land the killer blow in the battle over FITs with the treasury.

Success

The decision to save the feed-in tariff was announced in the spending review on 20 October.

Campaigning and generous donations to our Emergency Appeal from Friends of the Earth supporters was pivotal in this success.

Well done to everyone involved in making it happen.