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