The Supreme Court has warned a final appeal by energy ministers over the High Court ruling on Feed-in Tariffs will take around eight months to reach its courtrooms.
A spokesman said because the Court of Appeal had refused leave to appeal to the highest court in the land, it would take two months before permission to seek a ruling could even be granted.
Ben Wilson of the Supreme Court told ClickGreen it would take an initial eight weeks before a panel of three senior judges could even decide if permission for the appeal to be heard would be allowed.
“It will take this long to prepare and lodge the papers,” he said. “And then, on the basis of the written submissions, it would be for the Supreme Court Justices to decide if there is a significant issue regarding a point of law of importance to the general public.”
If DECC is successful in seeking a final hearing, it would then take a further six months to organise a full appeal hearing before the Supreme Court.
“This will probably take a year to reach the Supreme Court,” Wilson added. “If there is a case for the matter to be heard urgently this period of time can be contracted – but not significantly.”
It is understood that because the Court of Appeal this morning refused leave to appeal to Supreme Court, the three appeal judges are indicating the likelihood of permission being granted is extremely remote as they feel there is no ambiguity over the points of law.
Following this morning’s decision, energy secretary Chris Huhne, said in a statement: “The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court ruling on FiTs albeit on different grounds. We disagree and are seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
“We have already put before Parliament changes to the regulations that will bring a 21p rate into effect from April for solar pv installations from 3 March to help reduce the pressure on the budget and provide as much certainty as we can for consumers and industry.
“We want to maximise the number of installations that are possible within the available budget rather than use available money to pay a higher tariff to half the number of installations. Solar PV can have strong and vibrant future in UK and we want a lasting FiTs scheme to support that future and jobs in the industry.”
David Hunt of renewable energy company Eco Environments, said in reaction to news of the eight-month delay: “It is somewhat embarrassing that the government, after losing two court cases are looking to the Supreme Court.
“The government are clearly looking to keep the water muddy for consumers, trying to drag uncertainty on to the 3rd March. This is yet another snub to the solar industry, and proves without doubt that this is very far from the ‘greenest government ever’.
“It is in our opinion the government would fail in any further appeals, and maintaining confusion is their goal. Frankly we’re disgusted that they are taking this course of action.”
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