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BLAIR `BACKTRACKING ON SOLAR ENERGY FUNDING'
Submitted: 2 September 2004
By Alan Jones, Industrial Correspondent, PA News
The Government was today accused of back-tracking on its funding plans for solar energy by winding down support programmes earlier than planned. Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth said there was ``little clarity'' from ministers about how they planned to support solar energy.
The two schemes, which offered grants and advice, should be extended rather than wound up, Friends of the Earth argued. Climate campaigner Catherine Pearce said: "Whilst Tony Blair stands on the world stage, championing the fight against climate change, the UK's domestic solar power industry is under threat because of a lack of Government funding. Germany has installed almost as many solar panels in one year as we are attempting to achieve in 10 - and we are struggling to achieve this. The Prime Minister must put his money where his mouth is, and help the UK take a lead in developing a range of renewable technologies that will help combat global warming.'' Solar industries faced "disaster'' because of a black hole in Government support, said the campaign group. "This uncertainty is already making future investment, job recruitment and new product development planning impossible and is sending all the wrong signals to the market,'' said Ms Pearce. The Department of Trade and Industry said it had made no announcement on its funding plans for solar power.
For further information, please contact Neil Verlander, Press Officer, Friends of the Earth, Tel: 020 7566 1674, Tel: 07712 843 209 (m), www.foe.co.uk, Press office direct line: 020 7566 1649.

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