The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) lodged grounds for appeal earlier this week (January 4), in response to a review which concluded that government plans to rush through the cuts to FITs were “legally flawed”.

It is expected that the hearing will conclude the legal battle between the Government and a group led by environmental group Friends of the Earth and solar industry companies HomeSun and Solarcentury.

The fresh appeal follows a ruling from High Court judge Justice Mitting on December 22, which said the Government had been “unlawful” to cut FITs from December 12 and before the consultation was carried out.

A DECC spokesperson confirmed to edieEnergy that: “The Court will make a decision on permission for an appeal on January 13 with a hearing to follow immediately after if permission is granted.”

DECC said it lodged the appeal as it felt “the High Court’s decision was based on the view that the proposed approach to implementing new tariffs for solar PV is inconsistent with the FIT scheme’s statutory purpose of encouraging small-scale low-carbon electricity generation”.

Speaking exclusively to edieEnergy, solar company The Green Home Company managing director Alan Proto said he believes a truce is needed to restore confidence in the solar sector, adding that he has “sympathy for the Government”.

However, he added while it was clear FITs would be cut that it should have been handled more carefully.

He said: “My view is that the Government got it right as the FIT needed to be reduced. However, had they granted the industry more time to prepare things would be more straightforward”.

According to Mr Proto, despite the cuts business has “remained quite robust”, although he confirmed a rush prior to the December 12 cut off date. However, he said the real reason for the dissatisfaction is that “no one likes to turn up after the sale has finished – even if the offer is still giving value for money”.

In regards to the appeal he concluded that “almost any outcome would be better than no outcome”.

Carys Matthews

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