Government goes to Court of Appeal over ‘unlawful’ solar plans

The Court of Appeal will today [Friday 13 January 2012] hear the government’s challenge to last month’s High Court ruling that its solar subsidy cuts are illegal.

The move follows a High Court ruling that government’s plans to rush through sudden cuts to solar payments were illegal, following a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun.

 The hearing will be “rolled-up” so the application for permission to appeal and – if allowed – the appeal itself will be held on the same day.

Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins said: “This appeal will only add to the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the solar industry.

 “We urgently need an action plan to protect this vital sector – and the 30,000 jobs currently under threat.

 “Ministers should recycle some of the multi-million pound tax revenues generated by solar firms to safeguard the industry and enable more homes, businesses and communities to switch to clean energy.

“That’s why we’re campaigning for government to do more to protect cash-strapped households from soaring fuel bills by delivering clean British energy we can all afford.”

John Swinney, director of business fevelopment for Carillion – which in November last year warned 4,500 staff that their jobs are at risk because of the planned solar cuts – said:

“This appeal prolongs uncertainty and further erodes industry and consumer confidence, which has been badly damaged by the way in which the consultation process has been conducted and by the dramatic cuts to feed-in tariffs proposed by the Government.

“These cuts would make it far more difficult to attract crucial private sector investment that is needed to drive the low carbon economy – and in particular to help those in fuel poverty.”