SNP MPs condemn UK Energy Secretary’s ‘parliamentary backdoor tactics’

Scottish National Party MPs Callum McCaig and Alex Salmond have condemned proposed changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme regulations after the UK government failed to bring then to debate in Parliament.

The North East MPs have directly criticised the UK government for proceeding to implement cuts that will affect all biomass plants that use less than 20% of their fuel for electricity production.

Industry representatives have already spoken out against the move, saying more than £140 million (€177m) has been put at risk because of the decision. The planned cut will be made by amending the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme regulations.

McCaig, the SNP’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson in Westminster has written to Energy Secretary Greg Clark urging  him to do the “democratic thing” and bring the issue to the House of Commons to debate the impact of the change to the renewable heat industry.

Callum McCaig, MP for Aberdeen South, said: “I find it hard to believe the Secretary of State for Energy would be completely naïve to the consequences this cut is likely to have on investment in renewables projects, and the damning impact it will have on investor confidence in them.

“The UK government are sneaking a cut to the biomass CHP tariff via an amendment to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Regulations, which means people across this country may find themselves adversely affected by something their elected representatives had no opportunity to debate on. Low-carbon technology is something we should be encouraging and assisting, not just for the environmental benefits but for the planning long-term, cheaper energy sources for consumers.

“The renewables industry is key to our long-term energy production and as such it requires a long-term stable regulatory and tariff framework – not cuts snuck through the political backdoors of Government. Unfortunately this sort of behaviour is indicative of a Government that does not have any concern to prioritise renewables and green energy as part of our long term future, and they busy themselves with their agenda to pour money down the sinkhole of nuclear energy reactors at a cost of billions.”

Former SNP leader Salmond said: “This is the latest example of the Tory’s complete lack of interest in our renewable energy sector. First, they scrapped the renewable energy grant and now they have tried to sneak in this change to the Heat Incentive Scheme through the back door and under our noses. It is one thing to propose a change to support for renewables. It is quite another to bring the implementation date forward without warning and without even a Parliamentary debate on the consequences.

“It is high time the UK government realised just how important schemes like these are to the people of the North East. With the current downturn in the oil and gas sector, it is vital that we create more energy strings to our bow. One way to do this is to ensure that our renewable energy sector is properly incentivised. However, it is clear that this will be even harder to achieve for as long as we have a Tory government in Westminster.”

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