FITs appeal decision delayed for at least a week

The solar industry remains in 'limbo' this week as the latest installment of the Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) court fight ended without a decision.

Last Friday’s (January 13) hearing at London’s Court of Appeal heard the Department for Energy and Climate change (DECC) appeal an earlier decision allowing campaigners to have a judicial review into cuts to solar subsidies through FITs.

However, while many legal observers expected the decision to be wrapped on Friday it now appears the decision will not be made until next week at the earliest.

A decision, according to DECC, could now be weeks away adding fuel to the fire of doubt currently surrounding the solar industry.

Solarcentury’s general counsel, John Faulks, speaking after the case explained: “The stakes have increased massively.

“All we did was take a narrow challenge that DECC had no power to introduce a December 12 cut off date, which took effect before the end of the consultation period and an eight week parliamentary procedure.

“The secretary of state’s (Greg Barker) defence is seriously worrying, he thinks he has the power to do whatever he likes to FITs whenever he likes.

“And that means no FITs are safe for any technology installed or not at any time.”

Mr Faulks said a judgement would for ‘at least a week’ and he hoped for the ‘sake of all stakeholders’ in the renewable energy future, that the campaigners win the case.

A DECC spokesman said: “The Court of Appeal has not yet decided whether to give permission for an appeal or made a judgement on the FITs case.

“The Court will wrap up the decision on permission for an appeal and a possible judgement if an appeal is allowed in the next few weeks.

“Once the outcome is known we will consider our options and make an announcement on the way forward to provide clarity to consumers and industry.”

The solar industry remains in “total limbo” after a day of legal argument failed to determine if the Government has the right to appeal in the row over feed-in-tariff incentives.

Green micro-generation firm Eco Environments director, David Hunt, said the industry remained in ‘total limbo’ as a result.

He said: “The Government has not covered itself in glory during this whole sorry saga, and the outcome further exacerbates the negative impact of their actions.

“The industry needs to move forward without the prospect of months of continued uncertainty hanging over it.

“The failure to even agree whether an appeal can be heard is another hammer blow to our industry – the only winners today are the lawyers.”

Luke Walsh

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