Local residents deliver giant solar panel to Amber Rudd to highlight solar job losses

February 20, 2016 by combehavendefenders

Outside the Conservative Business Forum champagne reception

Local residents with giant solar panel outside Hastings and Rye Conservative Business forum reception

Press release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
Saturday 20 February
Contact 07565 967 250
Local residents deliver giant solar panel to Amber Rudd to highlight solar job losses
Cuts to renewable energy ‘social and environmental disaster’ says East Sussex man forced to close solar company

Hastings, 19 February: Local residents attempted to deliver a giant ‘solar panel’, bearing the words ‘Fund Solar Not Climate Change’, to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd yesterday (Friday 19 February) to highlight the job losses and climate change impacts of the cuts she has made to subsidies for solar energy [2].

A dozen local people dressed in green boiler suits and hard hats took the cardboard and foil panel to a champagne reception of the Hastings and Rye Conservative Business Forum in Hastings Museum which Ms Rudd was attending. Rudd delayed her entrance until police had been called to escort the campaigners off the premises, and then entered by a back corridor. However, at least one local resident managed to gain access to a balcony overlooking the reception, and was able to communicate the message directly to her. Security guards destroyed the panel before it could be handed over.

The action, organised by local anti-roads group Combe Haven Defenders [1], was supported by Howard Johns, former CEO of Southern Solar, whose company went into liquidation following the solar cuts. He said: ‘It is deeply ironic that Amber Rudd was sipping champagne at this event with local businesses, when her policies have led to the collapse of so many small solar energy companies. Her actions will cause thousands of people to lose their jobs and will vastly increase carbon emissions as renewable energy sources are replaced with fossil fuels. They are nothing less than a social and environmental disaster’.

Combe Haven Defenders spokesperson Andrea Needham said, ‘Amber Rudd claims that these cuts will keep bills down for ‘hardworking families’. But figures show that the savings will amount to around two pence per day for the average household – and for that, a whole industry is being destroyed, thousands of people put out of work, and carbon emissions drastically increased. Meanwhile, the government is effectively handing out £26bn a year in direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel companies [3]. We’re calling on Amber Rudd to reverse these cuts and to take serious steps to tackle climate change, the most important issue of our age.’

Contact 07565 967 250

[1] www.combehavendefenders.org.uk
[2] The Department for Energy and Climate Change has estimated that the cuts to the solar feed in tariff (FIT) could cause the loss of up to 18,700 jobs in the solar industry:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486084/IA_-_FITs_consultation_response_with_Annexes_-_FINAL_SIGNED.pdf – see table C5
[3] http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/new-figures-published-by-the-imf-show-the-uk-provides-more-subsidies-for-fossil-fuels-than-renewables/

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