Drastic cuts to RHI tariffs are putting farming businesses involved in the scheme under severe financial pressure according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union. UFU president Ivor Ferguson said it was unfair and completely unacceptable that legitimate claimants are paying the price for civil servant incompetence.
The comments were made after the UFU provided oral evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, which has opened an inquiry into changes to the Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive.
“There are a number of questions still regarding how the new tariffs were calculated. Further scrutiny is necessary with specific emphasis on how the Department for the Economy (DfE) has interpreted the state aid rules on the rate of return. We are puzzled how, despite working to the same State Aid rules in Brussels, the GB and ROI Renewable heat schemes are providing payments as much as ten times those being paid under the NI regulations,” said Ferguson.
The UFU sais farmers’ confidence and trust in DfE was currently in short supply. “The actions of DfE have caused significant damage to the renewable industry in Northern Ireland. This will have a lasting detrimental impact upon the uptake of future schemes,” said Ferguson.
“We have called on the NI Affairs Committee to reach a speedy and satisfactory decision that provides certainty for our members, many of whom are experiencing severe financial strain under the new tariffs,” he said.