Renewable Heat Association Northern Ireland Statement on proposed extension of temporary, emergency regulations:

We have grave concern that the temporary, emergency regulations that were introduced in 2017 may be extended for “at least 12 months.”

The Scheme participants have invested about £50,000 per installation and there are 2,128 installations in industrial processes and a further 2,700 in homes – the non-domestic and domestic schemes. The inward investment, made in good faith, is of the order of hundreds of millions of pounds. This did not come from savings but from the banks. Often, short duration loans at prime interest rates. Almost daily, the Inquiry sheds light on the failings of those charged with running it. Documentary evidence published overnight, demonstrates the unbelievable incompetence and collapse in leadership in our public institutions and their understanding of public finance.

Last week, Association representatives met with NIO officials and passed over key documents obtained under Freedom of Information. The audited financial statements appear to depict a different story. 

DfE would appear to be in a state of administrative collapse. The much vaunted audits have not materialized, there has, in 15 months been almost no stakeholder engagement, no impact assessment, no publishing of proposals, no consultation (indicated as planned for February 2018) and the new Permanent Secretary has too many diary commitments to schedule a meeting with the Association.

Brexit looms and with it, the end of scrutiny by the EU Commission. Just as well for HMG as colleagues in DfE failed time after time to comply with the simplest of requirements. It would be too embarrassing now to talk RHI compliance and BREXIT at the top table.

Currently, the sum by which the liability which DfE RHI (NI) will exceed the allocated 3% of national spend is contested.  The Judicial Review heard that the overspend (over 20 years) might be £60m.  During the court case, counsel for DfE observed that a “worst case scenario” might be £700m.  DfE Audited accounts might be a sound indicator as to the true position.  RHI (NI) closed in 2016. The scheme in GB remains open and “spikes” at every review.  As the GB scheme continues to expand, so too does the value of the DfE NI 3% share.