Rural landowners have applauded a ‘logical’ revision to the approach by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) on who can and cannot apply for grant payments through the renewable heat incentive, following the recent government launch of the domestic RHI*. Homes in the ownership of groups of trustees will now qualify for grant applications to the renewable heat premium payments scheme and its successor, the tariff-based domestic renewable heat incentive.
Scottish Land & Estates Policy Officer Anne Gray explained:
“One of our members, Alvie Estate, brought it to our attention that its application for renewable heat funding had been turned down, apparently on the basis that its business model included a governing group of trustees. After investigating, Scottish Land & Estates could not see any logical reason why trustee-owned homes and businesses were being excluded from the application process. We asked the DECC to look again at the issue earlier this year and were delighted to learn that it has since reviewed the situation and that trustee led groups can now be eligible for payments for installations of microrenewables including biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal panels.”
Peter MacKenzie from Alvie Estate commented:
“This is a welcome and sensible change of heart by the Westminster government. We had initially been very disappointed with the prospect that the ideas we had put in place around renewable energy projects for the estate would not be able to receive the available funding simply because Alvie is owned by a family trust. Given these revised qualification criteria will be applied across the board, this opens up eligibility for the grant to a wide range of estates and businesses that will really benefit. It will help ensure we are all working to combat rural fuel poverty and in turn sustain fragile communities in the long term”.