DEVON County Council has asked the Government to reconsider its position regarding increased business rates on rooftop solar installations.

The Government is proposing that from next April many local authorities and businesses in the UK will see major tax or business rate increases on rooftop solar installations.

Devon County Council's cabinet member responsible for environmental matters, Cllr Roger Croad, says that such a decision would be a backward step for sustainable energy, and that it would deter organisations from installing the technology.

In a letter to Devon's MPs, Cllr Croad asks that the matter be raised with the Government.

He explains that Devon County Council has intended to substantially increase its use of rooftop solar PVs to help the council save money, and to invest the savings in public services.

But he says that the changes would have a profound effect on these plans.

"I am deeply concerned about the impact of this move. On principle, tax should not prevent businesses from doing business, particularly where they are doing the right thing by using clean energy and helping us meet our renewable energy targets.

"These (changes) will significantly affect the viability of new and existing solar installations, pushing some into negative return on investment. In effect, it will all but eliminate the incentive for organisations, including Devon County Council, to install solar."