RHI list: Officials withhold 48 claimants’ names

Wood pellets
Wood pellets

Although the vast majority of the names of non-domestic RHI claimants have been released, details of some major claimants have been withheld – with little explanation as to the reasons for each decision.

The names and postcodes of those behind 48 boilers have not been released by the department – because it has made a decision, for unspecified reasons, that the release of those names would not be in the public interest.

Most of the claims relate to payouts of more than £50,000, with the greatest payout being £91,715. Many of the claims also relate to applications made during the spike in applications and almost all relate to the lucrative 99kwth boilers.

The News Letter asked the Department for the Economy to explain in simple terms why it was withholding those names when so many others were being released. The department said: “In accordance with the judgment of the High Court on 1 March 2016, the department undertook a comprehensive Data Protection exercise to assess the legitimate interests of the beneficiaries under the RHI scheme in non-disclosure of their names.

“This was done by writing to the beneficiaries asking them to provide details if they objected to their information being published.

“The responses were then considered and the department balanced the public interest in disclosure against any contrary interests identified by the individual before coming to a decision. It only decided to disclose where that balancing exercise came down in favour of doing so. Each beneficiary was notified in writing of the department’s decision prior to the date of publication.”