Green light to solar legal challenge

The High Court has given permission today (Thursday 15 December 2011) to Friends of the Earth and two solar companies – Solarcentury and HomeSun – to challenge government plans to slash financial incentives for solar electricity. The Judicial review will be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday (20/21 December 2011) next week.

The legal challenges focus on government plans to slash feed-in tariff subsidies – payments made to households and communities that generate green electricity through solar panels – on any installations completed after 12 December this year.

The government is currently running a consultation into feed-in tariffs – but the 12 December cut-off point came two weeks before the consultation ends. Friends of the Earth says this premature decision is unlawful and has already led to unfinished or planned projects being abandoned.

Friends of the Earth’s legal challenge to cuts in solar incentives is part of its Final Demand campaign, which is calling for energy we can all afford and a public inquiry into the power and influence of the Big Six energy companies.

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said: “We’re delighted the High Court has given the go-ahead to our legal challenge – we believe government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are not only unfair, but illegal.

 “These proposals have already had a disastrous impact on the solar industry – fledgling clean businesses have had the rug pulled from under their feet and a shadow hangs over thousands of jobs.

 “Ministers must change direction and put the solar industry at the forefront of building a clean safe future.”