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Department of agriculture bodies have six RHI boilers

The spiralling cost of the RHI has prompted calls for the name of claimants to be published

COLLEGES under the control of Stormont's agriculture department are claiming from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The Irish News has established that three campuses of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) run Cafre (College of agriculture, food and rural enterprise) have installed a total of nine biomass boilers over recent years, six of which are eligible for the RHI.

Cafre's Loughry campus in Co Tyrone has four biomass boilers, while corresponding sites in Enniskillen Co Fermanagh and Greenmount Co Antrim have one each.

Growing public outrage over the mounting cost of the botched scheme has led to calls for the names of claimants to be published.

Around 2100 farmers and businesses availed of the scheme over a three year period.

Costing £1.2 billion in total, failure to impose curbs on the scheme is forecast to burn a £400m hole in the Stormont executive's budget over the next 20 years.

Cafre has run a number of one-day seminars aimed at publicising the scheme, which saw a huge spike in applications after the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment announced plans to curb it in the autumn of 2015.

In one publicity item for the Food Innovation Centre at Loughry college, it states that that a recently installed biomass boiler is set to generate £5,100 in income every year.

Arlene Foster speaking to the Irish News in October about RHI:

Arlene Foster speaking to the Irish News in October about RHI 

A Daera spokesman said: "As part of government’s drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Cafre has progressively installed biomass boilers as a key instrument in working towards these targets.

"It has installed nine biomass boilers with six of these eligible for the RHI scheme. All biomass boilers were designed to both ensure optimum heat delivery to the facility combined with efficiency in greenhouse gas reduction."

The six boilers for which Daera claimed RHI generated an income in the last quarter of almost £2,000.

A Daera spokesman added: "All funds raised by the department are allocated towards the delivery of DAERA public services.”

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