Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Campaigners claim FIT legal victory

Campaigners fighting government plans to slash solar subsidies are claiming a major victory in court.

Yesterday environmental group Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun launched a High Court challenge against a government decision to cut feed-in-tariff payments from 43p/kilowatt hour to 21p/kWh claiming it was unlawful as a consultation is still ongoing.


The reduced payments came in for solar photovoltaic schemes from December 12 despite the consultation into the changes not finishing until Friday 23 December. For social landlord PV schemes there is a further, deeper cut in April to 16.8p/kWh.

Friends of the Earth told Inside Housing that the judge today ruled the government’s plans to act retrospectively were ‘legally flawed’.

Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth executive director said: ‘These botched and illegal plans have cast a huge shadow over the solar industry, jeopardising thousands of jobs.

‘We hope this ruling will prevent ministers rushing through damaging changes to clean energy subsidies - giving solar firms a much-needed confidence boost.

‘Ministers must now come up with a sensible plan that protects the UK’s solar industry and allows cash-strapped homes and businesses to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels by plugging into clean energy.”

‘Solar payments should fall in line with falling installation costs but the speed of the government’s proposals threatened to devastate the entire industry.’

The successful judicial review decision is likely to be appealed by the government.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said that the department was awaiting full details of the court case before issuing a statement.

Inside Housing is calling for social landlord to be given fair access to the feed-in-tariff through our Green light campaign

Readers' comments (20)

  • F451

    Once again this Government's cavalier attitude to the housing sector and the environment (or more to the point the Pickles approach to his department) looks set to cause huge cost to the taxpayer. Both legal fees and compensation costs could be massive - not to mention the lost cost of service supply.

    This Maverick Minister needs to be curtailed before his 18 months of havoc causing results in terminal loss.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Another fine performance by the Cabinet aka The Crazy Gang.

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  • My heart bleeds for Mr Goon......sorry Huhne :-) That should wipe the smug look off his face.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Good point US --- but Mr Goon is not very good with legitimate points, allegedly!

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  • Richard Mandunya

    What do you expect from deceived, arrogant, millionaires who have found themselves in cabinet to propagate their fiefdoms at the expense of the rest of the country?

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  • Gavin Rider

    F451 - this "debacle" will probably cost the taxpayer a fraction of what the recent pensions strikes did, and will inconvenience a tiny minority of the population, unlike those strikes.

    The difference between the two actions is that the government is trying to save the country money, whereas the pensions strikers were trying to save themselves money.

    From a moral perspective under these considerations, who is more justified in their action?

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  • F451

    How can the strikes have cost the taxpayer - it saved on a day's pay, and we all know from the Tory Press that the public sector only cost, not produce - so where's the loss. Or are you one of those blue people waking up to the fact that without all the essential and social roles fulfilled by the public sector the private sector can not function, and without the lucrative forced privatised public contracts private sector profits take a massive dip.

    Personally I think the strikers should demand a pension arrangement equal to that of banking executives, or threaten to leave the country!

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  • Gavin Rider

    F451 - Oh dear, do you have no idea of how GDP is calculated? Do you have no concept of the secondary harm caused by such strikes?

    Personally I think the strikers should realise that they get a damned good deal compared to people like myself who have private pensions, even after the proposed adjustments. My pension fund is now worth less than it was in 2006 (poor fund performance does not stop the fund managers taking their fees and charges) and because of the poor annuity rates being offered the projected pension I can expect to receive when I retire is now much lower than it was when I started paying into the scheme. (That is, if I can ever afford to retire)

    Public sector workers don't realise how "well off" they really are as far as their pensions are concerned.

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  • Gavin Rider

    ... and no, I am not a Smurf or an avatar.

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  • F451

    I do Gavin - I was just enjoying the point disproving all those who claim the public sector produce nothing, a worth nothing, are non-jobs etc.

    I was also enjoying the typical comment that demands public sector level down to the lowest rather than the commentator suffering the effort and hard work to level up to the highest.

    Just because you are too lazy or incompetent to argue for a better deal is no reason to wish to prohibit others from doing so. Maybe if those moaning about Union control in the 80's could reflect on what they have now lost by throwing out the Unions they may be able to connect the two - but I doubt it as that takes an above average sense.

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