Birmingham Friends of the Earth press release

Embargo: Immediate release, Tuesday, 1st November 2011


Contact: Joe Peacock, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, 0121 632 6909


Commenting on the announcement yesterday (31 October 2011) of Government plans to slash incentives for household solar electricity, Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner Robert Pass said:

“The Government’s announcement that the Feed-in-Tariff will be cut in half is a massive blow to our chances of becoming a more sustainable city. Successful and innovative schemes, such as Birmingham Energy Savers, were reliant on the original price for electricity to make a real difference to some of our poorest households, providing free solar panels and reinvesting profits back into insulating homes. We cannot afford to derail these schemes if we are to meet our target of reducing Birmingham’s carbon emissions by 60% by 2026. This decision is short sighted beyond belief.”

“The so called “Greenest Government Ever” should be encouraging more people – not fewer – to save money by making their own electricity, freeing us from the stranglehold of the Big Six energy firms who are pushing up our bills and keeping us hooked on fossil fuels.”

“Thirteen thousand people are urging David Cameron not to kill off clean energy through Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign – he must step in to reassure households and businesses.”

Local business leaders from the renewables industry have also expressed their anger.

Mark Clemson, director of New World Solar, the biggest supplier of Solar panels in the city, says “We understand there was a need to review the FiTs rate, as material costs have dropped considerably. However, the lead time for the implementation of these cuts will have a catastrophic effect on our industry. What price energy security, jobs, CO2 reduction and the mitigation of fuel poverty? This government has firmly slammed shut the window of opportunity.”


Notes to editors:

1. The feed-in tariff [FIT] scheme pays households, businesses, councils, hospitals and schools to create clean power through systems like solar panels. It has been hugely successful to date, with the creation of 80,000 new solar installations and 22,000 new jobs over the last two years.

2.Government figures show that in the last three months the total take up of FITs (316MW) was almost double that of the previous quarter (164 MW), and over 20 times that of the first quarter (15.2MW). Most of the increase is due to a huge increase in demand for solar PV.

3. Friends of the Earth says payments to people generating their own solar power should only be cut in line with falling costs of solar technology – while overall ambition for the feed-in tariff scheme should be increased, to allow more people to participate and protect jobs.

4. Friends of the Earth research shows that a green energy revolution is needed to stabilise energy bills in the long run. For information see:

5. Earlier this month Friends of the Earth launched its new campaign, Final Demand, calling for a public inquiry into the Big Six energy companies and a fair energy system. The giant energy companies are making huge profits by keeping us hooked on expensive fossil fuels. The campaign is asking people to sign its petition to David Cameron at

6. New World Solar are a Birmingham-based company who supply and install complete Renewable Energy systems and have won the prestigious National Energy Efficiency award along with their public sector partners: