Appeal decision looms

A Court of Appeal decision on whether to allow the Government’s legal bid to overturn a ruling that its cuts to the Feed-in Tariff was unlawful is to be announced on Wednesday, January 25.
The ruling of the three appeal court judges will be delivered a week after the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed a contingency date of March 3 for the retrospective introduction of the revised 21p tariff rate should its appeal fail.
A spokesman for Friends of the Earth told ClickGreen today: “Our solicitors were informed late on Friday evening that a decision would be delivered next Wednesday, we have been told no further hearing will be held.”
Should Secretary of State Chris Huhne still be in his position on Wednesday, he will be left with the awkward decision of whether to carry on the legal fight to the Supreme Court if the appeal judges turn down the bid.
The Crown Prosecution Service is expecting to receive vital evidence on Tuesday relating to allegations the Cabinet Minister ducked a driving ban by switching speeding penalty points to the licence of his estranged wife Vicky Pryce.A decision on whether to bring criminal charges of perverting the course of justice is expected very soon after. Should he be forced to resign from the Cabinet while facing the very real risk of a custodial sentence, reports say Business Minister Ed Davey is currently the leading candidate to replace him.
Energy Minister Greg Barker earlier this week said the new March 3 contingency date was brought in should the Government fail in its appeal bid in an attempt to provide clarity and certainty for the solar industry
In a statement, he said: “I know this is a difficult time for the sector and I want to do as much as I can to end the current uncertainty created by his department’s legal appeal.
“We must reduce the level of FITs for solar panels as quickly as possible, to protect consumer bills and to avoid bust in the whole Feed-in Tariff budget. We’re appealing against the court ruling that’s challenged our proposal for a December reference date.
“This remains our aim, and we are waiting for the judgment of the Court of Appeal. But this is too important for us to sit and do nothing while we wait. Today we’re putting in place a contingency that will bring a 21p rate into effect from April for installations from 3 March.
“However, we are still pressing ahead with our appeal and if successful, we retain the option of introducing a December reference date. In the circumstances we believe this gives the industry as much certainty as is possible. And it puts us in a better position to protect the budget for everyone involved.”