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Friends of the Earth said it was deeply disappointed with Government amendments to the Energy Bill tabled today (Thursday 30 October 2008).   The environmental charity, which had welcomed last week’s announcement that feed-in tariffs would be included in the Energy Bill, said legislation put forward today was too vague, lacked a timetable and failed to guarantee a feed-in tariff scheme would be introduced. 

Friends of the Earth also said the 3 megawatt threshold for the scheme, which covers small scale renewable electricity schemes, are was too small to encourage investment in the full range of community scale renewable energy schemes such as small wind farms.

A feed-in tariff is a guaranteed, long-term, premium price paid to households, communities and businesses for electricity they generate by renewable sources. The House of Lords is set to debate the amendments on 5 November.

The Government has been under pressure from green campaigners, business, consumer groups, trade unions, opposition parties and Labour backbenchers to amend the Energy Bill to introduce a feed in tariff.  Ninety six Labour back bench MPs have signed an Early Day Motion supporting an amendment to the Energy Bill to introduce a feed in tariff style scheme for renewable electricity and heat. Thirty eight Labour MPs rebelled on the eve of the local elections earlier this year and voted for an amendment.

Friends of the Earth’s Head of UK Climate Ed Matthew said:

“We were pleased when Ed Miliband announced he would introduce feed in tariffs last week but are disappointed with the fudge the Government has come up with today. This is not the feed in tariff we were promised, it’s a giant legal loophole."

“The legislation put forward by the Government is vaguely worded and gives no certainty to business that a feed will be introduced."

“The UK has one of the worst renewable energy records in Europe. The Government must strengthen the Energy Bill to guarantee the introduction of a genuine feed in tariff that encourages households, businesses and communities to invest in renewable energy generation.”


1. Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to toughen up its amendment to include:

  • Renewable schemes under 10 megawatts - a 10MW upper limit could work without damaging investor confidence in large scale renewable schemes which would continue to be covered by the existing Renewable Obligation.
  • A duty on Government to introduce the scheme within one year
  • The basic elements of a feed-in tariff - guaranteed contract length and an obligation on the government to set the tariff levels for different technologies.

2. Friends of the Earth has led the campaign for the introduction of ‘feed in tariffs’ into the Energy Bill which now has the support of over 35 major environmental, consumer, business groups and trade unions across the UK. Including the TUC, British Retail Consortium, The Co-operative Bank, Renewable energy Association, RIBA, the Country Land and Business Association, WWF, National Farmers Union and the Home Builders Federation.

3. Seventeen European countries have adopted a feed-in tariff system with considerable success. Germany generates 15% of its electricity from renewable sources. Turnover in the German renewable industry rose is £20 billion and employment in the sector is 250,00 (compared to a UK renewables sector that employs about 20,000 people).

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust