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Plan to halt wind scheme now facing legal review

By John Mulgrew

Published 22/12/2015

UFU and Simple Power have begun legal action
UFU and Simple Power have begun legal action

The Ulster Farmers’ Union and a Belfast renewable energy firm have begun legal action over a Government proposal to halt a wind turbine grant scheme.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell came under fire earlier this year after he announced plans to close subsidies to new onshore wind projects from next spring.

Now, UFU and Simple Power have lodged papers with the High Court in Belfast seeking leave to apply for a judicial review of the proposals.

Mr Bell has proposed to end the subsidies by April 2016 — after saying he would maintain the system until 2017.

The organisations behind the planned action said “many farmers and businesses across Northern Ireland have spent time and money developing farm based wind energy projects, with the understanding the scheme would continue to April 2017”.

In response, Mr Bell said: “It has always been my desire to bring the Northern Ireland renewables obligation to a controlled and managed end, ever conscious of the need to strike a balance between maximising the amount of megawatts that can be achieved and the cost to consumers.”

Desire: Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell
Desire: Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell

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