Renewable Heat Incentive scandal

The Renewable Heat Incentive scandal is a political scandal in Norlin Airlan thit centres oan a failit renewable energy (wood pellet burning) incentive scheme thit haes bin reportit tae potentially cost the public purse awmaist £500 million.[1] The plan, initiatit in 2012, wis owerseen bi Arlene Foster o the Democratic Unionist Party, then the Minister fur Enterprise, Trade an Investment. Foster failit tae introduce proper cost controls, allowin the plan tae spiral oot o control.[1]  The scheme workit bi payin applicants tae uise renewable energy. Housomiver, the rate paid wis mair nor the cost o the fuel, an thus monie applicants war makkin profits simply bi heatin thair properties.[1]

Arlene Foster MLA set furth the scheme in her role as Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment minister

The scandal foremaist cam tae licht in November 2016, bi whit pynt Foster wis Norlin Airlan's First Minister. Foster refusit tae demit or staund aside durin ony speirins, sayin thit tae do sae wild be sin as admittin she wis wyte wirthy in the matter.[2]

The affair ultimately causit Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness tae demit in protest as First Minister depute o Norlin Airlan in Januar 2017 efter ten yeir in office, citin Foster's refusal tae staund aside frae her role while an investigation teuk place, amang ither maiters.[3] In the pouer-sharin govrenment, McGuinness' resignation forby meant thit Foster wis removit frae her role as First Minister, which in turn causit the Executive office o the Norlin Airlan Executive tae clyte fur the neist three yeir.

Oan 16 Januar 2017, Sinn Féin refuist tae re-nominate a First Minister depute in protest at whit thay cried the "arrogance and disrespect of the DUP", triggerin a snap election.[4] The Norlin Airlan Executive clytit an the Norlin Airlan Semmlie wis dissolvit oan 26 Januar 2017. The 2017 Norlin Airlan Semmlie election wis haudit oan 2 Mairch, but didnae lead tae formation o a new Executive.  Oan 11 Januar 2020, efter haen bin suspendit fur awmaist three yeir, the pairties reconvenit oan the basis o an greeance proposit bi the Earse an UK govrenments. As o 14 Januar 2020, the Enquiry report remains tae be releasit.


  1. a b c Macauley, Conor (17 Januar 2017). "RHI scandal: PSNI considering request for fraud investigation". BBC News.
  2. Arlene Foster statement in full  – Belfast Telegraph, 10 January 2017
  3. "Martin McGuinness resigns as NI deputy first minister". BBC News. 10 Januar 2017.
  4. "Stormont crisis: Deadline passes for future of executive". BBC News. 16 Januar 2017.