Is Europe Best Bet For A Greener Britain?
As the EU referendum campaigns gather pace, a leading regional renewables expert has warned that a Brexit could be a green catastrophe.
According to Michael Wright, of Yorkshire Heat Pumps, a vote to leave Europe could mean the UK turning its back on an accountable commitment to sustainable energy.
Michael was reacting to the news that Prime Minister David Cameron has set the date for the referendum on Britain’s future in Europe – June 23.
Michael’s company, Yorkshire Heat Pumps, has installed ground and air source heat pumps and biomass boilers in both domestic properties and commercial settings throughout Yorkshire. Many of his customers are benefitting from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which may come under threat if Britain votes to leave Europe.
While the government is committed to RHI up to 2021, it will be reformed next year and there is uncertainty over how the incentive scheme will look post 2017.
Said Michael: “When Britain goes to the polls to decide whether or not to stay in the EU, for some the primary concern will be immigration, and for others it will be about our national sovereignty, but for me, the whole issue of how serious we are about climate change is also at stake.
“Stay in the EU and renewables have some protection as the UK is signed up to policies to deliver 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020 and reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. Leave the EU and a layer of accountability for the future of our planet could disappear overnight.
“If we fail to meet our carbon reduction responsibilities, we face massive fines from Europe. This is obviously a strong argument in favour of keeping the RHI scheme, under which many homeowners and businesses can expect to recoup the cost of switching to a renewable energy heating system in just a few years.
“If RHI goes then so does a major incentive for our customers to invest in green technologies and with it, a more sustainable future for everyone.”
Conversely, a Euro-sceptic victory might contain at least one benefit for those investing in renewables.
Said Michael: “The European Court of Justice has ruled that our reduced five per cent VAT rate on domestic renewable energy heating installations is unlawful. As a result our government is forced to put this rate up to 20% later this year, which could add thousands of pounds to the cost of going green. Leaving Europe could put our VAT rate back in our hands.”
Yorkshire Heat Pumps, a leading regional installer of renewable heating technologies, is based at Blubberhouses, just outside Harrogate. Run by Michael and Kate Wright, the business specialises in biomass, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Yorkshire Heat Pumps .