Charles Hurst, part of Lookers PLC, has, to date, made a capital investment of £755,244 as part of the RHI scheme and as it applies in both Northern Ireland and in Great Britain. This does not include budgeted maintenance or replacement costs or staffing associated.

In April 2014 - March 2015, Charles Hurst made mandatory CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment) payments of £210,254 and £366,144 in April 2015 - March 2016. We anticipate a similar amount of around £350,000 for April 2016-March 2017 (An estimated total of around £930,000). Smaller public and private sector organisations are excluded from this scheme. Reducing the impact of these ‘tax’ payments can be mitigated by companies which reduce their carbon footprint.

Charles Hurst Operations Director Colin McNab said:

“As a large, responsible business and employer operating in an environment which not only encourages but compels organisations to save energy, adopt environment-friendly policies and reduce carbon impact, our priority has been to continually explore and adopt mechanisms which allows us to do exactly that.

“There is a clear incentive to perform well under the CRC scheme, reduce emissions and be more competitively placed than other businesses which have not cut emissions. Reducing our significant and growing tax burden is also a priority for business.

“We employ an energy team to assess how we can do this properly and, to reiterate what we said in December, Charles Hurst legitimately and fairly engaged with the RHI scheme based on the information which was provided and which was publicly-available at the time.

“We entered into the scheme entirely in good faith and we publicly and specifically outlined our engagement at the time (in 2014), as well as the environmental benefits which it offered across several sites, and in Great Britain, where a different system exists.

"At no stage did we seek to disadvantage taxpayers and we were not in receipt of any knowledge at the time that this might be the case. Against the key financial facts which we have supplied today, and our response, we hope that this provides the media and the public with the information and clarity they need to fully understand our position as a company with a CRC commitment we are trying to limit the financial burden set on us and this can only be achieved by reducing our Carbon Footprint.”

“Under the current scheme, as it stands, given investments made, payments made and carbon tax payments made, the initiative will only begin to recoup costs by late 2022. Until then, the initiative helps us make inroads into reducing our carbon footprint, which is our key objective.”