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John Leech MP backs campaign to save support for solar

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On Friday 18 November, representatives from local community groups and businesses met Manchester Withington MP John Leech to ask him to back Friends of the Earth’s campaign for an urgent re-think of the Government’s proposal to slash support for solar energy.

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The Government recently launched a consultation on plans to cut the feed-in tariff for solar PV panels by more than half for installations completed after 12 December, well before the expected date of April 2012, and a full 11 days before the end of the consultation.

Stephen Beech, owner of south Manchester-based Beech Properties, said:

“This is having a massive impact on us as a solar installer as we’ve recently taken on new staff to carry out installations with our order book increasing daily. We’ll be forced to lay off these staff and cancel orders with our suppliers come December.

“Also, as a landlord, it prevents us developing any more energy efficient properties. We won the UK’s best energy efficient refurbishment award this year by increasing our properties’ energy efficiency (EPC) rating from a G to an A. This announcement effectively stops us renovating any more as I simply couldn’t afford to do so.

“As well the negative effect this has on my business, it will disappoint the hundreds of tenants who are queuing up for energy efficient properties to lessen the impact of spiralling energy prices.”

Charlie Baker from the Carbon Co-op said:

“This cut at such notice tears up the business plans of organisations like the Carbon Co-op that are vital to getting communities to work together to deliver the much needed cuts in emissions and the even more needed jobs that go with them. What message does this send out about this Government’s commitment to localism?

“It is crucial that cuts differentiate between making money and making change. It is fair that the former is reduced but the latter is too important. The new rates must reflect this difference so that groups that can prove that they are recycling money to fund further carbon reduction work receive a rate that enables that to continue.”

John Leech MP said:

“Solar has been the real success story for the renewable industry. We can’t afford to jeopardise thousands of jobs by slashing the feed in tariff and creating uncertainty, giving the industry no time to adjust.”

Ali Abbas, lead climate campaigner at Manchester Friends of the Earth, said:

“This sudden and savage cut to support for solar energy is putting jobs at risk and threatening community projects in South Manchester and beyond.

“We’re delighted that John Leech has agreed to support our Final Demand campaign to save the feed-in tariff and hold a public inquiry into the behaviour of the Big Six energy companies.”

Take Action!

Sign our Final Demand petition to David Cameron, calling on the Government not to axe support for clean British energy produced by communities, councils, business and householders, and to launch an independent public inquiry into the Big Six’s power over consumers and influence over politicians:

Vote for Carbon Co-op to win £100,000 in the final round of the national Energyshare competition:

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