News

Green Deal Cash for Training

 The government has announced funding of £3.5 million to help train hundreds of people in key green skills ahead of the launch of the Green Deal this autumn. DECC is also funding a £10m competition to be launched in early May to support the incorporation of innovative technologies which can achieve significant energy savings in existing non-domestic buildings. Non-domestic buildings, such as schools, shops, offices, hotels, are associated with 18% of the UK’s total carbon emissions so reducing energy demand in this sector will help the country meet its climate targets.

Government Loses FITS Appeal

The Supreme Court has rejected the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s appeal over cuts to the Feed-in-Tariff. All systems installed between 12th December 2011 and 3rd March 2012 will receive the higher generation tariff for 25 years. This is the third time a court had ruled that the government’s decision to set a date for cuts in the tariff before a consultation ended has been ruled unlawful.
 
Friends of the Earth, who fought the case, has now asked the government to set out plans for how it will restore confidence in solar power and meet targets to increase solar power over the next eight years.
 

RHI: £25 Million For Low Carbon Heat

A second phase of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme, which provides vouchers towards renewable technologies like biomass boilers, air and ground source heat pumps and solar thermal panels, launched on 2nd April and will is worth £10m more than the existing scheme.
 
This phase includes an £8M competition for communities to apply for grants to encourage community groups to install renewable heating. This voucher scheme which will be mainly focused on the four million homes in Great Britain which are not heated by mains gas and are reliant on expensive oil or electric heating. There will also be a £10m competition for social landlords.
 
Following on from the controversy surrounding lowering the FITS generation tariff at short notice DECC has also launched a consultation proposing an interim measure to keep the RHI within the budgetary limits set by the Comprehensive Spending Review. This includes the possibility of giving industry one month’s notice to temporarily suspend the scheme to new entrants if 80% of the available budget is expected to be spent. In the interests of transparency and ensuring industry is not taken by surprise, regular updates on the budget spend will be published. These measures could be in place as early as the summer and will last until the longer term cost control system is in place. DECC will consult in September this year about increasing the number of technologies eligible under the industrial RHI with a view to implementing the plans by summer next year.
Under the scheme which ended on 31st March, 6412 vouchers to households were issued and £4.8m allocated.

£60k ‘Buy Better Together Challenge’ Opens to Applications

 A new funding scheme designed to promote community buying has opened for applications. The Buy Better Together Challenge will fund projects which bring together groups or individuals to purchase goods or services and get better deals from shops and suppliers. The scheme can also provide many social and environmental benefits. Communities can get together to buy a whole range of goods and services from heating oil to solar panels to food.
 
Entrants are asked to address one or more of these challenges:

 

  • A project aimed at creating a platform, tool or vehicle to help individuals come together and form a community buying group.
  • A project aimed at enabling existing or new community groups to develop their purchasing power by working collectively on behalf of individual consumers.
  • A project aimed at businesses to empower their employees or consumers to group for community buying.
The deadline for applications is 15 May 2012.

Veteran Trees Project

 Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is developing a new project to help ‘veteran trees’. The aim is to conserve and protect our oldest trees and the wildlife associated with them. The trust is looking to work with community groups and volunteers to collect, propagate, and grow on veteran tree seed and also to plant new trees. They are looking for volunteers to help with tree seed propagation activities, planting trees, tree maintenance and after care and finding suitable locations for planting new trees.
 
For more information contact: Louise Valantine, Living Landscapes Officer, lvalantine@derbyshirewt.co.uk, 01773 881188. www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk