‘DfE continues to fail RHI participants’

Ulster Farmers' Union president Ivor Ferguson. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Ulster Farmers' Union president Ivor Ferguson. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
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The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the Department of Economy (DfE) is failing RHI scheme participants as it continues to ignore the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

The comments were made following the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee publication of the Department’s response to its report on the changes to the RHI scheme payments. The UFU provided evidence to the NI Affairs Committee inquiry on behalf of members directly affected by the drastic RHI tariff cuts.

UFU president, Ivor Ferguson said: “We have repeatedly highlighted that DfE failed to consider the wider costs and investment decisions associated with installing a biomass boiler. In many cases, the scheme has now become so unworkable that farmers are reverting back to using fossil fuels. It is shocking that RHI participants have been made the scapegoats for the failings of government. They entered into a government scheme in good faith and have essentially been sold out.”

The UFU says it understands DfE are prepared to accept some NI Affairs Committee recommendations regarding hardship, however, are reluctant to do so financially.

“Not recognising the full investment decisions of RHI participants is a missed opportunity to address some of the unfairness created by the revisions to RHI payments. It is not enough to offer participants a way to get out of the scheme. The indirect costs must be built into the payments offered by the scheme to make it comparable to the counterpart scheme in Great Britain,” said Mr Ferguson.