Farmers in Northern Ireland are calling for the Department of Economy (DfE) Minister Diane Dodds, to seek the urgent repeal of the Northern Ireland Regional Rates and Energy Act 2019 and reinstate a tariff structure that is reflective of the costs associated with running a biomass boiler.
Commenting on the matter UFU deputy president Victor Chesnutt said: “UFU boiler operators who invested in the RHI scheme in good faith, are calling on the reinstatement of a tariff that is reflective of their costs. Farming businesses are operating in an incredibly volatile market at the present time and many have been struggling financially for years because of the RHI scheme. Numerous UFU members have been selling stock and land, making all the adjustments they can to keep their heads above water but for some that hasn’t been enough. There are UFU members dealing with the reality that the RHI scheme could end their business.
“The recent public inquiry report into the scheme clarified that the failure lies wholly with the politicians and officials. Now is the time for DfE to right some of these wrongs. An urgent review of the current RHI tariff is essential to stabilise farm family businesses who invested in the scheme, allowing them to move forward.”
In April 2019, RHI tariff cuts were introduced by the DfE as a solution to their own problem. Farming businesses involved in the scheme were already under pressure and the tariff cuts added further financial pain.
“Requesting a tariff that reflects their costs is a very reasonable request and the least boiler operators deserve at this late stage. Implementing a fair tariff will not only support them but it will benefit the Northern Ireland economy and consumers, as it will allow our boiler operators who are farmers to focus on their primary role which is producing quality food for the nation.”