Fight against Feed-in Tariff cuts wins new day in High Court

Several high profile legal challenges against the government’s decision to slash Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) for solar installations from December 12 have been rejected by the High Court, reports GreenWise.
But green campaign group Friends of the Earth and two solar companies – Solarcentury and HomeSun – are appealing against the High Court decision.
Friends of the Earth said today it had received confirmation its appeal hearing to fight the government solar FiT decision would take place on December 15. It follows a ruling on November 25 by the High Court rejecting permission for a legal challenge on the grounds the case was not strong enough.
“The organisations are now asking the High Court to reverse the decision and allow a hearing into the legal challenges as soon as possible,” Friends of the Earth said in a release.
The green group and the solar firms decided to take legal action against the government after it announced on October 31 it planned to cut FiTs by more than 50 per cent on solar installations completed on or after December 12 this year.
In their case, Friends of the Earth, Solarcentury and HomeSun argue the government’s FiT plans are unlawful because the December 12 cut-off point is two weeks before the consultation on the fast track FiT review ends. Friends of the Earth adds this will “unfairly cause” numerous planned solar schemes to be abandoned and could cost up to 29,000 jobs.
“We strongly believe government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are illegal, we hope the High Court agrees to allow our case to be heard as soon as possible,” Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said today.
“In a time of economic gloom, the solar industry has been one of the UK’s brightest success stories, enabling homes and communities across the country to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels.
“It’s short sighted for Ministers to move the goalposts and prematurely pull the subsidy – this will cost tens of thousands of jobs, bankrupt businesses and reduce Treasury income by up to £230 million a year.”
Last week, heating and renewable energy giant Carillion confirmed it had put 4,500 of its staff on redundancy notice because of the Government’s planned cuts to solar subsidy rates.
Friends of the Earth said it was also asking the High Court to cap its potential legal costs for the case. International rules specify that costs should be limited in public interest cases on the environment.
In a separate, but related move, ‘Cut, Don’t Kill’ the campaign group seeking to get the government to reverse its decision on solar cuts, has announced it is planning another day of action on December 13.