The Government has decided to appeal against a High Court ruling that its decision to lower solar feed-in tariff payments was illegal.
Energy Minister Greg Barker has confirmed via twitter that it is to appeal against the ruling. The deadline for lodging an appeal is tomorrow at 4pm.
In November, the Government announced it was bringing forward the date for its reduction in feed-in tariffs to December 12, 2011, rather than in April 2012 as previously planned and 11 days before the consultation ended on December 23. Friends of the Earth argued this change with little notice was unlawful.
Under the proposals PV units installed post December 12, 2011 receive reduced FIT payments. For new residential units up to the 4kW band the rate was reduced from 43.3p per kWh to 21.0p per kWh. The proposals lead to some EIS and VCTs withdrawing offerings or considering changes to product mandates.
Friends of the Earth, which brought the challenge alongside two solar firms, has called on the Government to introduce a plan to reduce solar power payments in line with falling installation costs, rather than prolonging industry uncertainty and jeopardising jobs by pursuing an expensive legal appeal.
Friends of the Earth head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton says: “The Government’s illegal cuts to solar tariff rates have near-crippled an industry and threatened thousands of jobs.
“Trying to appeal the High Court’s ruling is an expensive waste of taxpayers’ money – the court says the Government has no realistic chance of winning, and it will prolong uncertainty among solar companies just when they need reassurance.
“Ministers should accept the High Court’s decision and end business uncertainty and protect jobs with a clear plan to reduce payments from February, in line with falling installation costs.
“The Government must expand the scheme overall – with all the tax revenue the scheme generates, this can be done at no extra cost to bill payers.”